Man and Teenager Killed by Falling Tree Branches as Storm Batters Portland

Two people, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed on Saturday and a third was injured as a powerful thunderstorm battered the Portland, Oregon, area.

The teenager was volunteering at a tree-planting event in the Sandy River Delta Park with friends when he was hit by a tree branch. Deputies from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and EMTs attended the scene of the accident at 11:15 a.m local time on Saturday, but the 14-year-old could not be revived, News Channel 21 reported.

The teenager's aunt, Kathleen Arthur, identified him as Christopher Kelly, 14, of Portland, Oregon Live reported. Arthur paid tribute to her nephew: "He was just so sweet, just a smiling, wonderful child who believed in volunteerism. It's just so tragic that this happened, it's just so unfair."

At 10:45 a.m, also on Saturday, the Portland Police Bureau attended a homeless camp by railway tracks at Northeast Sandy Boulevard and Northeast 118th Avenue. They found one man who had died after being struck with a large tree branch. Another man was found injured at the homeless camp and was transferred to a local hospital. The police department said they are unaware of the condition of this second man.

Neither of the people involved in this incident has currently been named.

Portland Police Bureau said that the Portland Fire & Rescue called in an arborist to inspect the tree from which the branches had fallen who had said that it was in a state of severe deterioration.

National Weather Service meteorologist, Colby Neuman said a line of showers moved across the metro area late Saturday morning, intensifying over Northeast Portland and bringing thunder and cloud-to-cloud lightning. The meteorologist added that numerous people had also reported hail.

Oregon Live reported that wind speeds recorded at Troutdale Airport during the storm had been recorded at a peak of 37 miles per hour. At a weather station near the Sandy River Delta, where the teenager was killed, wind speeds reached 31 miles per hour.

The non-profit organization Friends of Trees organized the seedling planting event at the popular park east of Portland that Kelly was attending when he died.

Their chief executive said in an email to FOX12: "We are devastated by the tragic accident that took place today at one of our events. Our hearts go out to the family."

Multnomah County Undersheriff Nicole Morrisey O'Donnell offered advice for anyone who finds themselves outdoors in such harsh weather conditions. She said: "Where you can, when you're in larger cleared areas, make sure you're listening and paying attention to your surroundings as we're heading into the winter months with wind, rain, and possible storms."

Morrisey O'Donnell also offered condolences to the families of the individuals killed on Saturday. She added: "We want to ensure that we let our community know and the family know that our thoughts are with them during this extremely tragic time."

Fallen Tree Branches
Stock image of a fallen tree branch. Two people were killed in Oregon this weekend by falling branches caused by up to 37mph winds. FotoDuets/Getty