MCCANDLESS, Pa. - A 13-year-old McCandless boy passed away Tuesday afternoon after sustaining a brain injury in a homemade zip line accident Sunday.
According to Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE, a spokesman for the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office said Rex Smith died at 2:36 p.m. in Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville.
Channel 11 News has learned Rex was an eighth grade honors student at Ingomar Middle School in the North Allegheny School District. He would have turned 14 this month, a family friend said.
According to McCandless police, the accident happened at a neighbor’s house on Ben Franklin Drive on Sunday.
Investigators said Smith slammed into a tree and the makeshift handle struck him in the back of the head.
Smith suffered serious head injuries and was taken to Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville by medical helicopter.
The chief of McCandless police said the zip line was only about 4 to 6 feet off the ground.
Smith’s death was ruled an accident following consultations with McCandless police and hospital physicians, the spokesman said.
Kevin Driscoll, a friend of the family, was at the Smith home while doctors completed an organ harvest surgery and his parents said goodbye.
“It was too bad of a brain injury,” Driscoll said softly. “His organs are going to be donated to help other kids stay alive.”
No funeral arrangements have been made, he said.
“Rex was a good kid, big into Boy Scouts. He played hockey and soccer in the past,” Driscoll said. “He was just a good, all-around kid.”
Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.