Man killed by falling tree in Olympic National Park

Sep 2, 2022, 11:50 AM


A Blackhawk helicopter arrives at the Hood River airport to assist in the search and rescue of two missing climbers on Mt. Hood. (Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images)

(Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images)

U.S. Forest Service Park Rangers said a Canadian man died after a tree fell on his tent at a remote wilderness campsite in Olympic National Park.

The 34-year-old man, Thomas Bernier-Villeneuve, was camping at Elk Lake, accessible by the Hoh River trail north of Mt. Olympus’ west peak.

Park service authorities arrived the next morning by helicopter, and the man’s body was taken to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office.

Officials received notice of his death Tuesday via a Garmin inReach satellite communication device.

The body was turned over to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office.

Washington state has always been a dangerous place to camp and hike, as a Forbes article, titled “Warning: The Deadliest National Parks In America,” cited a study where Washington’s North Cascades National Park was crowned “the top park where you are most likely to suffer a fatal accident.”

Search and Rescue doing more rescues due to inexperience, social media

The study analyzed National Park Service data between 2007 and 2018 and reported that North Cascades National Park averages 652 deaths per 10 million visitors, more than any other park.

Earlier this week, fire crews from around the region helped rescue a man after he fell near Franklin Falls. According to Eastside Fire & Rescue, rescue teams rushed to Franklin Falls Trail shortly after 4 p.m. for an alpine trail rescue.

Eastside crews assisted Snoqualmie Pass Fire District 51 with help from Snoqualmie Fire, the Bellevue Fire Department, Seattle Mountain Rescue, and King County Search and Rescue. Officials said crews successfully reached the man on a ledge around 5:30 p.m. and airlifted him for medical treatment.

The National Park Service recommends bringing 10 essentials when embarking on a hike or a camping trip, with key items like a first aid kit and emergency items that can help in the event of minor injuries, sudden weather changes, or unexpected delays.

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Man killed by falling tree in Olympic National Park