13-year-old girl dies in freak hammock accident

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DES MOINES, Iowa - Students at a Catholic school in Iowa are turning to their faith after one of their classmates was tragically killed over the weekend in a hammock accident.

Thirteen-year-old Peri Sagun had attached the hammock to a brick pillar with her sister. When she jumped into the hammock the pillar collapsed on her.

She was rushed to a hospital in Des Moines, where she later died of her injuries.

Sagun was a student at nearby St. Augustin’s Catholic School. Students and teachers there are mourning the loss of their classmate and pupil.

“For many of these students, they haven't even lost a grandparent, so for them, they've experienced death for the first time. So at the prayer service it was hard on them” said Principal Dr. Nancy Dowdle.

“Every child had the same question. Why did this happen? How could God do this? Why now? We could give them no answers other than this is a plan, and we don't know the plan, but we just have to pray that the family gets through it” said teacher Pat Hogan.

Sagun was supposed to graduate eighth grade next week. A winner of the presidential scholarship, she looked forward to a bright future.

“Peri was wonderful, she was very talented in tennis, she played for our volleyball team, she was an honors student, she was a gymnast, she was a dancer, she was in all our musicals the last three years, and she always wanted to do the right thing,” Dowdle said.

The staff is now discussing how to memorialize her at graduation, though they wish there was something more they could do.

“You would gladly take their place, in a heartbeat. They`re wonderful kids and so when something happens like this, you just wish that you could just exchange places,” Hogan said.

According to the police report, the pillar that fell on Sagun was only buried in the ground several inches deep with no reinforcements. A mason told WHO-TV those kinds of structures should be buried below the frost line, at least a foot down, with a concrete or rebar anchor.

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