A 9-year-old Cub Scout from Lockport was killed over the weekend when he fell about 15 feet into a ravine in KankakeeCounty as he was hiking with other scouts, police said.
The accident happened about 4:55 p.m. Saturday in Perry Farm Park, said Ken McCabe, a deputy chief with the Kankakee County sheriff's office.
Aiden DiTola was with other scouts as they hiked around part of the park known as the "Indian Cave" area. As the boys were hiking, the boy lost his balance and fell a short way on another scout who was sitting on a rock, according to McCabe. After hitting his head on a rock, the boy fell another 15 feet and ended up at the bottom of a ravine, said McCabe.
The boy was on a trail but the area was steep and rocky, according to a police report.
“We are still in a state of shock,” Aiden’s father, Tony DiTola, said this afternoon. “He was so excited about the trip. He was having fun. Suddenly, some ambulances started coming to the scene, and then I learned that my son was hurt.”
DiTola said he was at another area of the campground at the time of the incident, but a scout leader was near the boy and performed CPR. Aiden was airlifted to Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn and pronounced dead Sunday afternoon.
“It seems like it was just a freak accident,” DiTola said.
Aiden’s 11-year-old brother, Devin, was camping with his Boy Scout Troop at the park, but Aiden – who was a Cub Scout – decided to join him on the trip, his father said.
DiTola said his son loved to play soldier games and was excited about seeing a World War II battle re-enactment at the campground. Aiden was in the 4th grade at Ludwig Elementary School in Lockport and was on the basketball team and liked to play video games, said his father and mother, Mandy DiTola. “He was always a happy boy,” Tony DiTola said.
Perry Farm is 170 acres of natural prairie, woods and canyons in the Bourbonnais Township Park District, according to the park’s website.
Park district officials said in a statement they are “deeply saddened by the death.” District officials said they can’t remember any other similar accidents at the park in the past.
The Cook County medical examiner's office said the boy died from multiple injuries related to the fall and ruled his death an accident.
A wake for Aiden will take place at the O’Neil Funeral Home, 1105 E. 9th St., in Lockport Wednesday from 4-8 p.m.
Joseph Ruzich is a freelance reporter; Carlos Sadovi is a Tribune reporter