A boy was killed by a large rock while hiking in the Adirondacks with his uncle on March 13, says Essex County Coroner Frank Whitelaw.
The accident happened in the town of Keene where the 12-year-old and his uncle -- both from Greenwich, New York -- stopped to look at the Roaring Brook Falls when a huge rock fell and hit them, according to Syracuse.com.
The uncle was injured, but the boy died when the roughly 800- to 900-pound rock dislodged and plummeted down 25 to 30 feet, Whitelaw told Syracuse.com.
"It was a freak accident," the coroner said.
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When the uncle saw the rock falling, he tried to get his nephew out of the way, but fell into the water, according to Press-Republican. As he climbed out of the water to save the boy, it was too late, the 12-year-old was crushed against a tree by the rock.
Forest rangers and Keene Valley’s rescue squad tried CPR on the boy for about 45 minutes before Whitelaw pronounced him dead.
The uncle only had minor injuries, including cuts to his face, hands and legs, but “is in really rough shape emotionally. He is extremely distraught,” said Whitelaw.
The unnamed boy was taken to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake and his autopsy is to be completed on March 14. The Essex County Coroner's Office and New York State Police are investigating his death.
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"I have [responded to] people falling off cliffs and all sorts of mishaps and medical events, but this is the first one like this," Whitelaw said.
"Anytime you're venturing into the wilderness, you have to use a little bit more caution," he said. "But they couldn't have foreseen what was going to happen."
Whitelaw said the boy's death has affected everyone who responded to the incident.
"As serene and beautiful as it seems, things can change in an instant," he said.