Girl killed by fallen tree after its struck by lightning during hunting trip

A 16-year-old cheerleader died after a tree that was struck by lightning fell on her while she was out hunting with her father.

Baylee Holdbrook and her dad were out hunting in Putnam County, Florida, when the tree fell on the pair, knocking her dad unconcious, according to reports.

The Putnam County Sheriff's Department said in a statement: "The father lost consciousness and when he awoke discovered the 16-year-old not breathing."

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Baylee's dad called 911 and started performing CPR until help arrived. She was rushed to HCA Florida Putnam Hospital where she was stabilised before being taken to UF Health Shands in a critical condition.

Putnam County Sheriff's deputies said Baylee died surrounded by her family at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. Following her death, Trinity Baptist Church posted: "All athletic events for Palatka High School have been cancelled for tonight.

"All are invited for a time of fellowship and prayer at the CL Overturf auditorium all day today. We are in prayer for the Holbrooke family and reflecting as well as sharing."

Her classmates gathered together on Wednesday (September 27) to pray for the Palatka Junio-Senior High School student's recovery, before she succumbed to her injuries.

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Family spokesperson Willie McKinnon said: "As I got off of that elevator last night inside of Shands in Gainesville, I looked and I see the hallways lined with people praying.

"This community, when one of their own is hurt, they come out in full force to support them."

An average of 28 people die in the US from lightning strikes every year, with most deaths occurring in Florida, Texas, Colorado, North Carolina and Alabama, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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