By Marlee Ginter

CAMPTONVILLE (CBS13) – Massive tall trees surround the Schoolhouse Campground in Yuba County, an area Cole and Kelsey Nelson have camped in before. While camping is a favorite activity for the Nelsons who often camp with extended family a few times a year, they’re now not sure they’ll ever go back.

“It was a massive tree that just broke and fell down. It’s awful,” Kelsey said.

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At six in the morning, the unthinkable happened. One of those large trees crashed down onto their sister’s tent, killing their 13-year-old nephew, Austin.

“It sounded like thunder when the tree cracked and then followed by horrible screaming,” Cole said.

“We heard the tree, we heard the snap of the tree, we heard it coming down. Cole raced out of our tent, I raced out of our tent,” Kelsey said.

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Already worried about a bear in the area, the Nelsons say eight kids and three adults were huddled in the tent never imagining a tree would fall.

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“I can’t be more thankful that nothing more happened,” said Kelsey.

“I know people say that a lot in these situations but it really rings true with Austin, He was that big brother. He was so caring and loving,” Cole said.

(credit: Nelson family)

The Nelsons say Austin loved doing all things teen boys do like playing video games, fishing and go-cart racing. But perhaps above all, he loved being with family. They had all gotten together to celebrate Austin’s little brother Noah’s birthday. Noah was also in the tent with Austin when the tree came crashing down. He suffered a broken leg.

“We’re a really really close, close family… really tight and it’s been extremely hard,” Cole said.

“I wish there was something, or if there’s not already something, there needs to be something in place so no other family needs to go through something like this,” Kelsey said.

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Austin’s mother is hoping the trees surrounding the campers get checked regularly.