Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tragedy at Camp Towanga

 Pray for Camp Towanga

Generations of Bay Area children have gone to Camp Towanga, a residential Jewish summer camp on the Tuolumne River. Today, tragedy struck the quiet isolated  facility, located a few miles west of Yosemite National Park, when a tree fell near the camp’s dining facility

There are about 250 campers and 150 staff at the camp.

At least one person died, and 4 were airlifted to local hospitals. There were no children reported among the injured. Those hospitalized were all camp counselors.

From Ken Kramarz  Executive Director of Camp Tawonga.
Annais Rittenberg, a beloved member of the Camp Tawonga staff, died this morning when a tree spontaneously fell at the campfire circle outside of the dining hall.

Four other adult staff were injured and taken to local hospitals and are all doing well: Lizzie Moore, Cara Sheedy, Juliet Ulibarri, and Anya Schultz. All of their families have been contacted.

The campers were inside the Dining Hall having breakfast when the incident occurred and no child was injured. Emergency responders arrived within minutes, coming from Yosemite, Cal Fire, U.S. Forest Service, Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office, and the Office of Emergency Services.

Camp Director Jamie Simon immediately engaged our own Incident Command System to ensure that our children and staff remain safe, both physically and emotionally. The campers are doing well and are participating in camp activities away from the scene. Our on-site staff therapists are working closely with First Responder grief experts to help care for our community in this difficult time.

Part of the falling tree struck a PG&E power line, temporarily interrupting some of our electrical service. Repairs are currently underway and our generators are providing all necessary power.

This information has been verified by the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office. You may hear other reports, by media or rumor, but rest assured that this is a true and accurate report.

We will send you an email update by 6:00 PM this evening with further information. Please help us continue to remain focused on the children by not calling or emailing us at this time.
Keep the children and the staff of Camp Towanga in your thoughts and prayers today.

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