COVINGTON, Ga. - Authorities say a 14-year-old Boy Scout from Texas was killed by a falling tree Monday afternoon as powerful storms rolled through North Georgia.
The Newton County Coroners' Office identified the scout as Elijah Knight, 14, of Cypress, Texas
It happened around 3:45 p.m. at the Bert Adams Scout Camp located about 8 miles south of Covington.
“He and his tent mate were actually in the tent. I think there was some sort of weather alert and the rain had started and I think they were making their way back to the tent and he and his tent mate were actually in the tent together,” said Investigator Jeff Alexander, with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office.
Numerous other trees were toppled in scouting camp reservation. Alexander said 50 to 60 trees came down around the southern end of the camp during the stormy weather.
“As far as I’m aware of all the other Scouts that are here are safe and they being tended to,” said Alexander.
Tracy Techau, Scout Executive, and CEO, Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America which operates the camp was quoted as saying in a statement sent to FOX 5 Atlanta:
“This is a very difficult time for our Scouting family. We are sad to confirm the death of one of our Scouts following a weather-related incident at Bert Adams Scout Camp. We offer our deepest condolences to the victim and his family, and we will support them in any way that we can. Please join us in keeping all those affected in your thoughts and prayers.”
Officials said the Boy Scout was from Texas and was attending the fourth and final week of summer camp. The name of the boy has not yet been released.
Officials did not comment if any of the activities planned for the week were canceled or augmented because of the incident.
“I can’t even imagine what the scout leader and the rest of the troop is going through at this point, let alone the parents who are that far away from their child,” said Alexander.
Boy Scout summer camp tents traditionally are canvass wall tents, a design similarly used by the U.S. Army until WWII. They are 9 feet wide on the opening, 7 and a half feet deep on the walls, and seven feet height at the with 3 to 3 and half foot-high walls. It typically holds two cots.
Boy Scouts typically will attend a week at camp with their troop to work on steps to earn rank which include earning merit badges in subject from everything to nature to swimming to canoeing to handicrafts to wilderness survival to riflery. The day is typically segmented much like a class schedule with a break for lunch. The evening hours typically are filled with games, events, and campfires.