Two boys camping with family recovering after tree falls on their tent

Posted at 7:18 AM, Jul 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-11 20:37:29-04

PROVO, Utah -- Two young brothers are recovering at Primary Childrens Hospital in Salt Lake City, Monday, after a freak accident with a fallen tree.

The Markland and Lewis families were having a family reunion this weekend at Lakeside Campground near Utah Lake in Provo.

On Sunday night, the winds blew hard. At around 4 a.m., a large Cottonwood tree snapped and crushed a tent a family of six was inside.

BenJoe Markland, his wife Delena and their twin 3-year-olds all got out safely but their two sons, 7-year-old Dallin and 9-year-old Joseph were pinned.

"The wind had finally stopped and was like, ‘wow it's so peaceful,’ and then you hear the crack, crack pop, pop -- and then you feel the thud," said the boys' aunt Brooke Lewis. "And then my sister-in-law screams. And that was one of those, it chills you to the bone type of screams."

Lewis, with the rest of the family, ran out to help along with dozens of other campers.

"We had about 30 people around," Lewis explained. "We had about 15 guys helping us out, pulling branches out as much as we could to get them away from them. Cutting airholes to get their faces out and talking to them so they could see me."

Finally, a team of 12 people used all their strength to lift the tree off the boys.

Provo Fire Capt. Dean York said Dallin had a broken femur and Joseph had a torn liver and broken eye socket bone.

On Facebook, the father, BenJoe Markland posted the following message on his wall in both English and Spanish:

Friends. Our family was sleeping in a tent near Utah Lake when a tree fell on us at 4 am. Twins and Delena are safe. Joseph and Dallin were pinned under the tree. With the help of 2 dozen people and prayer we freed them from the tree. We are in primary children's hospital Joseph for the full brunt of the tree but seems to be doing well he has a lacerated liver and bad damaged eye socket. Dallin has a broken femur and is in a lot of pain. But so far so good. We will keep you posted.

Amigos. Nuestra familia estaba durmiendo en una tienda de campaña cerca del lago de utah cuando un árbol cayó sobre nosotros a las 4 am. Los gemelos y Delena son seguros. Jospeh y Dallin fueron puestas bajo el árbol. Con la ayuda de 2 docenas de personas y la oración que los liberó del árbol. Estamos en el hospital de niños de primary Children's. José recibió casi todo el peso del árbol, pero parece estar haciendo bien. . Dallin tiene un fémur roto y está en una gran cantidad de dolor. Pero hasta ahora tan bueno. Los mantendremos informados.

Comments of love and support have poured out on his Facebook wall.

FOX 13 News also spoke with one of the campground's officials, and he said their team would be looking at the trees in that area to make sure this never happens again.

York said fire and police were also on the scene helping lift the branches away. York called it a freak accident.

"In my 25 years of experience I have seen this happen only once before. A tree fell onto a family at a picnic and killed the grandmother and another person, and paralyzed a child. This family was lucky to be alive."

"We are so blessed, so blessed -- it sucks that happened, but we are lucky to be alive," said Sadee Lewis, another aunt to the young boys.