A freak accident on an Alabama beach killed a 10-year-old St. Louis boy during a family vacation on Wednesday.
Nolan McCabe had just walked out of a waterfront condo around 10:30 a.m. and was standing a few feet away from the door, according to authorities in Fort Morgan, Ala.
A 14-foot log, described by the sheriff as a “large piece of timber,” had been tossed up onto the beach by a storm surge from Tropical Storm Cindy, according to CBS News.
A massive wave hit the log, sending it barreling toward Nolan, reported WKRG in Mobile. It hit him in the head and pinned him underneath.
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Waves at the time were estimated to be 10 to 12 feet high, fueled by the tropical storm.
“The child sustained severe head injuries and had to be pulled from beneath the timber,” Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack told WALA in Mobile.
He added, “Tragic event, tragic day for them.”
Nolan’s father, Joshua McCabe, was outside, too, several feet away attending to other children when he saw the wave coming ashore heading toward the log and his son, sheriff’s Capt. S.K. Arthur said in a statement.
Nolan’s father and another person took him into the condo and tried to resuscitate him, and called for help. Emergency crews, including a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, responded, but Nolan died of his injuries at the scene, according to WKRG.
Nolan would have been in fifth grade at Wohlwend Elementary in the Mehlville School District, according to a statement from the district on Thursday.
Nolan is the third student in the district to die in recent months.
“Nolan’s sister Claire, who attends Bernard Middle, and his parents Josh and Jennifer McCabe were with Nolan during this tragedy,” the statement read. “Our thoughts and prayers are extended to this family as well as the Wohlwend Elementary Community.
“Unfortunately, this is the third tragic accident that has affected District families in recent months. In April, Rogers Elementary student Demond Moorehead died after being struck by a car while riding his bike. One day later, Forder Elementary student Caleb Lee was fatally injured in a car crash in front of Lambert St. Louis International Airport.
“As a district community, we will continue to work together to care for these families and all who are affected by these deaths.”
The parent-teacher organization has set up a GoFundMe effort to help Nolan’s family.
Nolan’s death was the first known fatality related to the tropical storm, CBS reported. Cindy formed Tuesday and made landfall along the Gulf Coast early Thursday, weakening to a tropical depression.