Woman Dies After Tree Branch Hits Her During Hike in Ohio State Park

A hiker has died after being struck by a falling tree branch in a park in Ohio.

The woman, who has been named as Shelley Miller, a 57-year-old from Columbus, was pronounced dead at the scene on Sunday. She had been hiking through Mohican State Park at the time.

Ashland Times Gazette reports that Miller had been on the Hemlock Gorge Trail, a 7.5-mile route that follows the Clear Fork tributary of the Mohican River, hugging its north bank.

Officers from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ashland County Coroner's Office attended the scene. The coroner's office identified Miller on Monday.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is investigating the incident.

Miller is believed to have been hit by the fallen branch at approximately 3 p.m. local time on Sunday afternoon.

A statement issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has urged hikers "to remain on established trails and follow park safety instructions."

A flurry of tornadoes, one of which generated wind speeds of 115 miles per hour and tore the roof off a home, hit various parts of Ohio at the weekend, though at the time of writing it isn't clear if adverse weather played a role in Miller's death.

Newsweek has contacted the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and this article will be updated when it responds.

Incidents of this nature are rare. According to a report that was published in 2009, 407 people died from "wind-related tree failures" in the U.S. between 1995 and 2007, at a rate of 31 deaths per year.

165 of these were caused by thunderstorm winds, 143 were caused by non-convective high winds, 57 were caused by tropical cyclones, 28 were caused by tornadoes, and 14 were caused by a heavy accumulation of snow or ice.

In March, TikTok star Rochelle Hager, who had more than 120,000 followers and more than 1.2 million likes on the platform, died at the age of 31 after a tree branch fell on her car during gusty winds.

A picture of the car that was released by the Farmington Police Department in the aftermath of the incident showed that the driver's side of Hager's car had been crushed by the branch.

Police chief Kenneth Charles described the incident as "truly tragic and unusual."

In 2019, 33-year-old Chris Perow, from Wisconsin, died while on a hunting trip after lightning struck a tree and caused a branch to fall onto his tent.

The father of two had been asleep at the time and died instantly.

A waterfall in Mohican State Park, Ohio
A view of Little Lyons Falls in Mohican State Park, Ohio. A 57-year-old woman has died after being struck by a falling branch while hiking through the park. AprylRED/iStock