Three family members were in intensive care Sunday night after their outing to Lake Manawa in Council Bluffs took a drastic turn Sunday morning. A strong storm blew through their campsite, bringing down a large tree that fell directly on their tent.
Inside the tent were 23-year-old Alicia Nichols, 25-year-old Timothy Hiers Jr. and 3-year-old Timothy Hiers III. All were seriously injured.
Timothy Hiers Sr. told Channel 6 News that Alicia was crushed by the tree. She has a fractured skull, fractured pelvis and ribs. Timothy Jr. has a lacerated lung and torn spleen. Timmy III has a small laceration on his spleen. Doctors will determine Monday if any of the three will need surgery.
Roxanna Miller was staying two camp spaces away and said it was difficult to hear anything during the pouring rain and hail. "He was yelling for help and we couldn't hear it two camp spaces away. This is the first time I've ever been in anything like this and it is scary, it is very scary."
“We were talking about those dead trees and said maybe they should take them down because they might fall on somebody's camper,” said nearby camper Rosie Henry. "There's another one over there. I think they should take it down so nobody else gets hurt."
The park manager said they tell campers if the weather gets too rough, they should take shelter at the shower building on the campground.
"Usually when we get some high wind we have a lot of cottonwood trees and maple trees so we usually lose some limbs, but having a whole tree come down like that, especially in the campground, is rare," said Dan Jacobs, park manager at Lake Manawa.
The Iowa DNR is investigating the incident and said once it's done, it will decide if any changes need to be made at Lake Manawa State Park.
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