Authorities in northern Arizona say a Mesa woman is dead after being struck by a falling tree branch in Supai Canyon.
Coconino County Sheriff's officials said Tuesday that detectives still are investigating the death of 27-year-old Danielle Marie Harris.
She was at a designated campground in the canyon with nine other people from the Phoenix area Saturday. Friends say it was her first vacation away from her kids.
Witnesses say Harris was sitting at a picnic table under a large cottonwood tree.
"We just got back into camp and everyone was playing cards and taking naps," says friend Ray Bratton.
Bratton says it was on the third day of hiking and sightseeing that the powerful windstorm blew into camp.
"Everybody scrambled to catch stuff that was flying, to hold their tents down, to grab the trash and put it away and then the big gust came and she was just sitting there. She was laughing covering her face and it came down."
Investigators believe that a large branch about a foot in diameter broke off due to high winds and struck Harris. The tree weighed an estimated 700 pounds.
Authorities say Harris suffered severe head trauma and other injuries.
"I went over to the other edge to the tip of the tree and she was laying there and thought she was just knocked out and I tried to yell for help to get the tree off and she was gone," says Bratton.
Medical personnel declared her dead at the scene.
A portion of the branch also hit a 47-year-old Peoria man standing close to the table. He suffered non-life threatening injuries.
The family of Danielle Harris has set up a trust fund for her two kids. She leaves behind a 13-month-old son and a 3-year-old son.
|Danielle Columbia Harris Irrevocable Trust
PO BOX 8422
Scottsdale, AZ 85252-8422
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.
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