At least 10 injured when huge tree falls into middle school softball game

BELLEVUE, Pa. — At least 10 people are injured after a giant tree fell into the middle of a softball game Monday afternoon at Northgate Junior-Senior High School.

The tree fell during a game between Williams Middle School, part of the Montour School District, and Northgate.

“I just saw the tree and just started screaming, ‘Everybody get out of the way! Run!’” said Kelly Ayers, mother of three Northgate players.

PHOTOS: At least 10 injured when huge tree falls on high school property

A fire official said at least 10 people were injured at the Bellevue school. Four were treated at the scene and six were taken to hospitals, he said.

However, an Allegheny General Hospital spokesperson said two adults with non-critical injuries are being treated at the North Side facility, and a Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC spokesperson said five people are being treated there for non-critical injuries.

Channel 11 is working to clarify the discrepancies in those reports.

“I turned off the video as soon as I saw it,” said Stephen Esau, whose father was hit by the tree. “Just because it was my father, you know? It kind of made us cringe.”

Esau, who spoke exclusively with Channel 11, said his father was the umpire.

“My mom said that he fell. Wasn't really sure what was happening. Then it was on the news,” Esau said.


Ayers is crediting Esau's father with helping save her daughter’s life.

“He pushed her out of the way because she was standing right there with him, so she should have been hit also. And the most she got was some scratches and a hurt knee. So I swear he saved her,” she said.

“It's like a miracle. Thank God they got out.”

The superintendent of Northgate School District, Caroline Johns, sent a statement Monday evening:

This afternoon, a large tree uprooted and fell during a middle school softball game.  The game was in progress at the time.  The tree fell on the home bench, press box and backstop fencing.  There were no players on the home bench at the time the tree fell.  We have no additional information at this time other than what was initially reported by EMS.

“There's a backstop that's pretty small,” said coach Laura Leviere. “From what I understand from people, that may have saved the brunt of the force of the tree from actually coming down harder.”

Leviere 's team was supposed to be practicing at this field Monday night.

“Very concerned, sure. I mean, this could have happened to us on Saturday. They didn't have any warning. It’s just ... sad,” Leviere said.

Esau said his father is expected to be OK.

“A few staples in the head. Very lucky. I think people were very lucky to walk away from this,” he said.

WPXI Chief Meteorologist Stephen Cropper said winds in that area were gusting up to 25 mph when the tree fell.