One person was killed Saturday when an oak tree fell on two cars in Pisgah National Forest in Western North Carolina.
The tree fell and hit the two cars on Pisgah Highway near Sycamore Flats just before noon, according to a Facebook post from the Transylvania County Rescue Squad.
One of the cars that was hit by the tree, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, was sent over the riverbank — trapping all four people inside, officials said.
“(The tree) came across the roof of that car and pushed the roof in and then that car ran off the road, down the bank towards the river,” Brevard Fire Chief Bobby Cooper told the Asheville Citizen Times. “It lodged between two trees, but didn’t go into the river.”
Crews with multiple agencies responded to the scene and freed the four people in an “extensive extrication,” the Transylvania County Rescue Squad said.
One person had died from their injuries, officials said. The three others were critically injured and were flown to a trauma center. Their identities and ages have not yet been released
Two people were in the other car, a Ford Explorer, when it was hit by the tree, but they weren’t injured, officials said, according to WLOS.
Cooper told the Asheville Citizen Times that there were no storms at the time of the incident and that he believes the large oak tree fell because its base was rotting. Cathy Dowd, a spokesperson for the Forest Service, told the outlet that the agency will do an assessment on the tree soon to determine why it fell.
The road was shut down for “an extensive period” after the crash and while officials were on the scene investigating, the rescue squad said.
“Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of the victims, and to all of the responders involved,” it wrote.
The crash happened just west of Brevard, in an area known for waterfalls such as Looking Glass Falls and hiking trails such as the Art Loeb Trail. Brevard is about 130 miles west of Charlotte.
No other information was released as of Sunday.