BERRYVILLE — The death of a hiker struck by part of a tree that fell Tuesday on the Appalachian Trail has officially been ruled accidental.
The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday identified the victim as Tae Sung Kim, 72, of Clifton. His identity had been withheld until investigators could notify family members of his death.
Clifton is a small town in southwestern Fairfax County.
Kim’s body was taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Manassas for an autopsy. Travis Sumption, chief deputy for the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, said the examiner determined that Kim’s death was an accident.
Sumption declined to discuss Kim’s injuries out of concern for his Kim’s family.
According to Sumption, the accident occurred along a portion of the trail north of John Mosby Highway (U.S. 50), about a 20- to 25-minute walking distance from the highway. The county’s 911 emergency communications center was notified of the accident at 11:19 a.m. Tuesday.
A large part of a rotten tree fell onto Kim while he was out on a hike, Sumption said. He estimated the diameter of that part of the tree was 15-18 inches.
“It was one of the main branches or stems,” Sumption said.
Kim was with a group of hikers when the accident occurred. Sumption said another member of the group placed the call to 911.
The Appalachian Trial stretches from Georgia to Maine. A portion of the trail is in Clarke County.