Kayakers rushed to shore during West Virginia hail storm. It was a deadly choice

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The Cheat River through West Virginia, where a kayaker was killed when a tree fell during a storm Sunday.

The Cheat River through West Virginia, where a kayaker was killed when a tree fell during a storm Sunday.

A kayaker died in a “terrible freak thing” Sunday on West Virginia’s Cheat River, after he and two companions rushed to shore during a severe storm and got hit by a tree.

David Treadaway of Maryland died under the weight of the tree, according to witness Doug Pollard, who was also injured.

The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources confirmed the circumstances in a press release, noting the incident happened Sunday in Preston County and involved three men traveling from Parsons to Macumber on the Cheat River.

Pollard wrote on Facebook that he and two companions were in the second day of their boating trip when the storm hit. Their 911 call came at 3:15 p.m. Sunday, according to WDTV.

“A terrible freak thing happen to my friends and I over the weekend,” Pollard posted Tuesday on Facebook. “…A storm rolled in on us so we headed for shore. It became very severe, high winds & hail, we took cover along the bank under some trees. … A big gust of wind blew in & snapped a tree in half, bring(ing) it down on Dave and I.”

Treadaway “was killed instantly,” Pollard wrote on Facebook.

State officials said Treadaway’s injuries were “severe.” Pollard was hospitalized with a broken arm, broken clavicle and back injuries, according to his Facebook post.

The third kayaker had some injuries, but they were not detailed in the press release. Pollard said the third member of their party was not under the tree when it fell, because he “ran out to keep the kayaks from blowing away.”

“Dave was such a great guy. My life won’t be the same without him,” posted Pollard, who lives in Mount Storm, West Virginia.

Treadaway was 58-year-old husband and father who lived in Dundalk, Maryland, according to his obituary. He was “an avid outdoorsman” who retired after 30 years with the postal service, the obituary reports.

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