April 23, 2013

Tree crashes into camper at Levi

Two Berea women trapped inside

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A weekend of camping in London became a nightmare for some Berea residents when a tree crashed onto their camper late Thursday afternoon.

The southern section of London echoed with the sounds of sirens as emergency personnel rushed to the camping area of  Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park, off U.S. 25, around 4 p.m. Rescue and emergency workers responded to the call that at least one of two women was trapped inside the camper after the ‘freak’ accident.

While both women were taken by Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County for medical treatment — and one then flown to a Lexington hospital for injuries — the owner of the camper stayed behind, snapping pictures of the damaged camper and hurriedly  putting things away in the event of predicted rain on Thursday night.

The man, who declined to give his name, said he and his wife had brought another couple with them for what was planned as a weekend camping excursion. The four Berea residents had been at the park for “about an hour” when a nearby tree came crashing down onto the pull-out section, ripping it from the camper and trapping the two women underneath.

The owner said he and a male friend were sitting in recliners on one side of the camper while the two women were seated on the couch in the pull-out section when without any warning, a tree crashed into the camper. The impact ripped the pullout section completely from the camper unit, pinning both women beneath. Although one woman managed to escape, rescue workers and volunteer firefighters from the London Fire Department and Laurel County Fire Department worked to free the other woman.

One woman was airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center for injuries while the other was treated at Saint Joseph London.

Andy Anderson, another camper in the park, told news reporters that he heard the crash and his power went out. Anderson said he thought the loss of power was due to a blown transformer, but looked out and saw the tree across the other camper.

Other campers in the area said the incident was a shock, and because there was little wind at the time the tree uprooted and fell across the camper.

Park officials declined comment, stating that they could not release any information about the incident. Calls to the Kentucky State Recreation and Tourism department were not returned at press time on Friday.