CALGARY - Pines Bible Camp staff are devastated by the death of an 11-year-old boy killed after a windstorm wreaked havoc at its Grand Forks, BC, camp.
The boy, from nearby Christina Lake, was with his cabin leader inside one of the cabins Friday at about 5 p.m. when high winds toppled a tree onto the structure at the camp,about 700 km southwest of Calgary.
Hospital staff were unable to save him.
The damage forced the camp to cease operations for the rest of the summer.
A statement from PBC executive director Gene Krahn said the camp was in a state of evacuation at the time due to the windstorm, which knocked down most of the trees and power lines in the area.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends during this time of tragic loss," Krahn said.
"Words cannot express our deep sorrow and sense of loss."
The cabin leader escaped with minor injuries. A few of the other 64 young campers also received minor injuries, but they're now safely with their parents, said camp staff.
"We are so proud of our staff and the manner in which they carried out our evacuation," Krahn said.
The camp has been closed for safety assessments and will remain that way for the summer.
"We're sad to announce that we will not be back in operation this summer," the company said.
Full refunds are being offered, though the camp is also suggesting the money already paid could be put towards a restoration project to repair the damage.
An outpouring of support for the camp and condolences for the family and friends of the boy killed have been pouring in.
"To everyone involved in overseeing our kids at the camp last night, thank you for your heroic efforts.
There is no doubt you did your very best for all of our kids," said Heather Bartlett on Facebook. "And to his family, there is prayer, love and support all around you. You are deep within our hearts."
Plans are underway to go back to the grounds to retrieve personal items left behind in the evacuation.
Police have yet to release the name of the deceased. The BC Coroners Service is helping with the investigation.