Man at Olympic National Park Tragically Dies After Tree Falls on Him

by Emily Morgan

According to officials, a Canadian man has died after a tree fell on him while he was camping at Olympic National Park in Washington.

The victim was described as 34-year-old Thomas Bernier-Villeneuve. According to reports from park officials, he died after a tree fell on his tent at Elk Lake. He was in a primitive wilderness campsite in the almost 900,000-acre park west of Seattle.

The National Park Service was alerted Tuesday about the tragedy. They located the site via helicopter Wednesday morning, according to a statement released Thursday.

Later, authorities delivered the body to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. The statement also revealed that Bernier-Villeneuve was a Canadian citizen but did not say where exactly he hailed from.

On Wednesday, a search and rescue team from the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island rescued a hiker in Olympic National Park.

According to a news release, the crew received calls to rescue the 68-year-old hiker just before 6 p.m. They located the hiker several miles up the Enchanted Valley Trail. It took teams about an hour to reach the man.

The hiker was then airlifted to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles.

Young climber dies in Olympic National Park doing what he loved most

A month earlier, the National Park Service also recovered the body of a climber who had been reported missing in the same park.

The victim, 38-year-old Sean Allen, had a permit to hike the area. However, he planned to solo climb Mount Mystery, Hal Foss Peak, and Little Mystery during his excursion.

When he never came home, rescuers began searching for him. Sadly, they discovered his body days later. He fell about 40 feet in his descent, most likely due to a lack of visibility.

Allen was a longtime climber who was introduced to climbing by his friend Chad Namolik.

“I took Sean rock climbing for his first time in the summer of 2009 at Little Baldy in Sequoia National Park, California. I led some sport routes in the 5.7 to 5.9 range and he toproped and cleaned them. It was easy to trust him as a belayer as he was very eager and interested in learning the skills,” said Namolik about his late friend.

According to Namolik, the pair had set out to climb the East Buttress of Mt. Whitney.

“But I was feeling very exhausted up around pitch six from the climbing and the altitude; we were also getting hammered by strong winds,” said Namolik.

“Sean wanted the summit badly so he grabbed the rack and handled his very first ever trad lead like a seasoned veteran. His drive is what got us up the peak that day.”

The duo completed around 100 to 150 climbing routes over their years.