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Girl killed by falling tree at Wisconsin state park

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A large tree, toppled by winds during a thunderstorm early Sunday, killed a 11-year-old girl who was camping with her family at Devil's Lake State Park in southern Wisconsin, park officials said.

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Steve Schmelzer, Devil's Lake State Park superintendent, said the girl was camping with her father and brother when the tree fell. The girl and her father were pinned inside, he said.

The father and brother were taken to a local hospital and released, Schmelzer said, adding that the brother had minor injuries including scrapes. The family was from Illinois, he said.

The names are being withheld until family members can be notified, said Department of Natural Resources spokesman Bob Manwell.

Neither Manwell, Schmelzer, nor the Sauk County Sheriff's Office had information early Sunday afternoon about where in Illinois the family was from.

The family was staying in the Ice Age campground on the north side of the park near Baraboo, Wis., Schmelzer said.

"We've never had anything like this," he said. "We had a drowning last year and a traffic accident in the park. We've never experienced anything like this before."

Manwell released a statement expressing the DNR's sympathies toward the family of the victim.

"Visitor safety is the number one priority on all properties the department manages and we do our very best to provide a safe environment for our visitors." it said.

"Campgrounds are inspected regularly and action is taken to eliminate potential hazards whenever possible. Unfortunately, not all possible events can be foreseen."

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