Children rushed to hospital after storm hits Edmonton camp
Published Wednesday, July 3, 2013 10:43AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 3, 2013 3:30PM EDT
A group of young campers and a pair of counsellors at an Edmonton camp were rushed to hospital Tuesday night after a severe storm struck the area, causing some teepees to collapse.
Officials said about 200 children were at the Our Lady of Peace Ranch when the storm struck at about 10 p.m. local time.
CTV Edmonton reports that 17 children and two counsellors were taken to hospital.
Alberta Health Services said one child was in critical condition and two were in serious condition when they were transported, but a camp official said the injuries turned out to be less serious.
“There was one child who got hit with a pole. He got eight stitches at the back of the ear. He is still at the hospital. We talked to the parents. He’s doing fine,” William Doherty, CEO of the ranch, told reporters.
A severe thunderstorm watch issued by Environment Canada had been upgraded to a severe thunderstorm warning shortly after 8:15 p.m. Doherty said the camp is not wired for Internet weather updates. He said councillors were in the process of moving campers indoors when the storm hit at approximately 9:10 p.m. Eighteen of 30 teepees collapsed while campers, some as young as six, scrambled for safety.
“They told us to run to the hall because there’s a storm coming. And everything just went crazy,” camper Isaiah Winters told CTV News.
Ranch officials said parents have been called to pick up their children.
“Last night was chaotic -- screaming. It’s understandable,” said Regis Stephen, a parent.
“They’re young. They don’t know what’s going on. They’re freaking out. They see their teepee crash to the ground. They start freaking out.”
Ranch officials are investigating whether staff members could have handled the situation differently but Stephen said the camp dealt with the situation as “best they could.”
“They probably could have handled it a bit sooner but they did the best they could as fast they could.”
The camp is currently closed. Officials are considering offering a day program or a scaled-back form of overnight camp.
Our Lady of Peace Ranch is a recreational facility designed to provide free outdoor experiences for children who are physically, mentally, financially or emotionally challenged, according to its website.
Throughout Edmonton, power lines and trees were knocked down by Tuesday’s high winds.
With a report from CTV Edmonton’s Laura Tupper