By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Sherburne County family is mourning the loss of a young boy, killed in what authorities are calling a freak accident.

Five-year-old Edward Michalek was playing on a hammock with his siblings in his family’s back yard Tuesday evening.

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One of the trees the hammock was tied to suddenly gave way and fell on Eddie.

His parents, Tom and Melissa Michalek, say they are still in shock, and the loss doesn’t feel real.

Melissa home-schools the couple’s seven children, and they decided to take a short break from their studies.

“We were all at home enjoying the day and I said, ‘it’s gorgeous, let’s all go outside and enjoy the day,'” Melissa said.

Edward Michalek (credit: Melissa Michalek/Facebook)

Eddie was on a hammock with his siblings when a seven-foot oak tree it was tied to uprooted, and came crashing down.

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“The tree gave way and hit him, and within 20 to 25 minutes of us performing CPR, we lost our son,” Tom said.

The Michaleks say Eddie’s siblings saw it happen, and the tree just barely missed three of the children.

“The older kids, I think they are about as heartbroken as we are,” Melissa said. “My oldest, she’s like a second mother and she was right there to him first.”

Tom and Melissa describe their son as easy-going, full of love and adventure. And as they grieve, they want other families to know about unseen dangers in a seemingly-ordinary backyard.

“We weren’t diligent about taking care of the dead tree the hammock was tied to, and that hesitation has brought us here,” Tom said.

The Michaleks say Eddie’s older brother has been going around the house and collecting his things, and making sure everybody in the house has something of Eddie’s with them.

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A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family to help with funeral expenses.

John Lauritsen