BIG LAKE TOWNSHIP, Minn. (KMSP) - A five-year-old boy has died after a tree fell on him while he was playing in his backyard in Big Lake Township, Minnesota.
According to the Sherburne County Sheriff, Edward "Eddie" Michalek was playing on a hammock with other children when a tree the hammock was tied to uprooted and fell. It hit Eddie on the head and killed him.
“He was a beautiful soul,” said Melissa Michalek, Eddie's mother.
Eddie was Melissa and Tom Michalek’s fifth of seven children. A close-knit, homeschooled family the children often played with each other. Tuesday evening was no different.
“A bunch of [the kids] piled on our hammock that's been there for years, but it's tethered to one tree that's dead, but seemed stable,” said Melissa.
Suddenly, moments that were filled with so much joy were replaced with bloodcurdling panic. One of the seven-foot tall trees the hammock was tied to uprooted.
“With that many people swinging, it was enough to break off the roots and it came down, and it came down on the back of our sweet Eddie,” she said.
Melissa and her husband tried to revive him, but the five-year-old passed away in what the Sherburne County Sheriff calls "a freak accident."
Feeling regret for not removing the hammock from the tree sooner, Melissa says she hopes other parents can avoid similar tragedy.
“Be vigilant about dead trees in your yard, and places where your children play, and if something doesn't feel right it's okay to walk away or fix it right away - don't hesitate,” she said.
A GoFundMe page has been started for the family and can be found here.