The tree his hammock was tied to came crashing down on a 5-year-old

He was playing with other kids in the backyard at the time.

A central Minnesota family is mourning the loss of their 5-year-old son who died in a backyard accident. 

Sherburne County Sheriff Joel Brott said in an emailed statement the boy was playing with other children in a hammock when one of the trees it was tied to uprooted. 

The 7-foot tree fell, hitting Eddie Michalek on the head. The boy was declared dead at the scene Tuesday evening. 

“This was a freak accident that led to the tragic loss of a young life,” Brott said. “Our thoughts are with Edward’s family during this difficult time.” 

A GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the boy's funeral says Eddie was playing with his siblings and asks for prayers for the family, many of whom saw the horrific sight.

A September hammock accident, too

This is the second time in as many months that a tree has fallen on a Minnesotan lounging in a hammock. 

Over Labor Day weekend in a Bemidji-area park it was a 15-foot birch tree that fell on Alyssa Pfannenstein.

Pfannenstein, 25, suffered a broken neck. She's now in physical rehab working to regain the use of her limbs, which were paralyzed after the accident. 

Her boyfriend, Justin Jannsen, told WCCO they didn't realize the tree they'd tied the hammock to was rotting on the inside. 

“It was surreal. At the moment, there was not even time to panic because it happened so quickly,” Janssen said.

You can find safety tips for use of hammocks here and here. If the hammock doesn't have a stand, tying it to something that won't move is important. Falling or getting tangled are also hazards for children, who should be watched closely around hammocks.

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