Esther Jung, 12-Year-Old Illinois Girl, Dies When Snow Bank Collapses On Her, Suffocates Her

Esther Jung, a 12-year-old Illinois girl, died when a snow bank fell on her and a playmate, the Chicago Daily Herald is reporting. The young lady is one of five deaths attributed to this past weekend’s winter storm.

On Sunday, Esther, who is the daughter of the pastor at the church where the girls were playing, went to church in Arlington Heights with her family. At some point, she and another girl went outside to play in the snow. The girl’s uncle, Jae Kim, says that the two girls were playing when a makeshift snow fort that they had built collapsed on them.

“She cried out, ‘Help me. Help me,’ but nobody heard it.”

After about an hour of not hearing from the girls, family members and the congregation at Rothem Church began looking for them. There, under the snow, they found both girls. Esther’s playmate was OK; Esther had suffocated under the weight of the snow, unable to draw air into her lungs. Both girls were taken to Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. Esther was pronounced dead at 4:30 p.m., her cause of death listed as hypothermia and asphyxia.

Her playmate, 9-year-old Sophia Shin, remains in the hospital for observation and for treatment of hypothermia.

Esther was a sixth grader at Collins Elementary School in Schaumburg. Her principal has spoken to the family and offered to provide any support they may need, according to a statement from the school district.

Other Winter Storm Deaths

Esther Jung’s death is the fifth death attributed to this past weekend’s winter storm, as of this writing.

As the Hartford Courant reports, in Connecticut, a utility contractor was killed in the line of duty Sunday afternoon when a tree fell on him. As of this writing, his name has not been released.

In Kansas, according to WJW-TV (Cleveland), Kansas Department of Transportation road worker Stephen Windler was killed in a rollover crash on U.S. Highway 69. Police say that the snow plow he was riding in turned one and a half times, ejecting the driver, with the plow coming to rest on Windler.

And in Milwaukee, according to WXXQ Radio, two men died shoveling snow in separate incidents. The 59- and 91-year-old men are believed to have suffered from what’s called “heart attack snow” – that is, a heart attack brought on by the strain of shoveling snow.

Meanwhile, according to the Weather Channel, yet another winter storm is brewing, this time expected to punish the northern reaches of the country in the coming days.