Teen killed by falling tree not on main trail

Diana Olidinchuk had gone for a walk with friends
By Brian Soergel | Mar 16, 2017
Diana Olidinchuk

When the large tree snapped with a crack and fell on 17-year-old Diana Olidinchuk, her hiking friends tried unsuccessfully to lift it off her. But it was just too heavy.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said the tree killed Olidinchuk instantly Friday, March 10, at Meadowdale Beach Park in unincorporated Snohomish County just north of Edmonds.

Olidinchuk and friends were not on a marked trail, said Tom Teigan, director of Snohomish County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.

“The Meadowdale Beach County Park has posted signs asking hikers to stay on the main trails,” Teigan said. “Friday’s tragic accident happened off the main and secondary trails, in a ravine adjacent to Lund’s Gulch Creek. This area is one of the least accessible parts of the park. We continue to monitor all of our parks for the safety and security of our visitors.”

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office reported on March 13 that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, and that it was an accident.

According to the Sheriff's Office, it was just after 3 p.m. when a Douglas fir, about 2 feet wide, fell and struck the girl while she was hiking with three friends. Rescuers cut the tree to pieces to lift it from her body.

“We grieve with the family and friends of Diana Olidinchuk,” Teigan said. “Our parks are places for fun, recreation, and family. Any horrible tragedy in one of our parks is disturbing, since the safety of our visitors is our highest priority.”

Teigan said the county conducted preliminary assessments of the park on March 12, with a county arborist walking the entirety of the main trail. The next day, a second county arborist and additional staff assessed current conditions to ensure everything possible had been done to prevent future accidents.

Snohomish County has 112 park sites and 12,000 acres of land. Meadowdale Beach County Park is 109 acres, and adjacent parcels of property are owned by the city of Lynnwood and include more than 90 acres of natural areas.

A park ranger lives at the park and monitors it for safety and security, Teigan said. In addition, he added that park staff conducts trail surveys at least once a week.

There also is a group of about 40 volunteers in the park daily, who provide input on conditions and needs. Over the last several months, the Washington Trails Association has been assisting in upgrading the main trail system.

@GoFundMe page@

Olidinchuk, a twin, was enrolled at Marysville Mountain View High School. Previously, she attended Horizon Elementary School and Olympic View Middle School in the Mukilteo School District. During the 2015-16 school year, she attended Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center in Everett.

She lived with her parents in South Everett. Family members have created a GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/dianaolidinchuk.

"I am saddened to say that this afternoon we learned that our darling cousin Diana passed away at the age of 17 due to a tragic accident," the page reads.

"She was at a local park with friends when three large evergreen trees fell, and one ended up hitting and crushing her. There was no warning or notice to even react. We, the relatives and family, are still in shock and not even sure what to do next. No one ever thought that she would go so young, and we are all trying to rely on each other for help and support.

"I am starting this fundraiser for the family to help pay for the funeral costs that came unexpectedly and to also help the family support and cope with the loss of one of their twin daughters."

A service was held March 15 at Sulamita Slavic Church in Mukilteo, with funeral services set for Thursday, March 16.

 

 

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