Distressing video shows moment dad killed in freak accident on family holiday

WARNING – DISTRESSING DETAILS: Traumatic video has emerged showing the horrific moment a dad of two was killed, and his family injured, when a tree fell on top of the SUV he and his family were in.

Casey Skudin, from Long Beach, New York, was driving through the US state of North Carolina last month with his wife Angela and their two kids at the start of the family weekend away when the tree toppled over and crushed their car.

Phone footage taken from within the car, shared by the New York Post, shows the vehicle taking a bend on a tree-lined road at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, where the family were reportedly planning to celebrate his 46th birthday and Father's Day that weekend.

Casey Skudin with his wife Angela and kids Channing (left) and Benjamin (second left)
Dad Casey Skudin was driving with his wife Angela and kids Channing and X when the tree fell on their car. Source: Facebook

Without warning, a huge tree branch appears to snap off as the car was passing, shattering the windscreen and sending everything inside it flying.

The camera appears to drop near the glove box on impact, with Ms Skudin's blonde hair now visible in the frame.

"Is everybody ok?" she asks, before looking at her husband.

At that moment it appears she realises the extent of her husband's injuries as she's heard screaming: "Oh my God! Casey!"

The video cuts off before anyone else is shown but youngest son, Channing, 10, was reportedly knocked unconscious and suffered broken bones, while older brother Benjamin, 19, was also knocked out but managed to walk away with minor injuries like Ms Skudin.

Mr Skudin, a highly decorated veteran firefighter, reportedly broke his neck. It's not known if he was declared dead at the scene or shortly after.

“It was crazy. I was the only one that wasn’t knocked out," Ms Skudin told the Post. "Just watching your husband die and you can’t do anything is really insane."

Car with smashed windscreen (left) grieving wife standing over coffin (right)
Casey was killed but his wife and kids walked away with minor injuries. Source: Facebook

Rotten tree held up by cables to blame

Biltmore Estate is America's largest home, according to their website, and a popular tourist attraction in the area.

Ms Skudin is now suing the A$228m estate for "grossly negligent conduct", according to reports.

She's seeking compensation for medical costs, funeral expenses, lost wages and punitive damages for the tragedy.

The tree that had fallen was rotten and was being held up with cables, the lawsuit claims.

Biltmore "knew it would cause great harm when it fell", it says, arguing the estate should have taken "appropriate measure of cutting the tree down and eliminating the potentially fatal risk".

Casey Skudin (second left) with wife Angela right) ad their kids Benjamin (bottom) and Channing (middle)
The family were starting a weekend away at a popular tourist destination. Source: Facebook

Following the tragic accident, Biltmore released a statement admitting they were "deeply saddened by this news".

"Our heartfelt thoughts are with the family and their loved ones, and we are offering assistance at this time," they reportedly wrote, however, they deny any wrongdoing.

Wife's heartache: 'I am shattered'

In a heartbreaking post on Facebook, the grieving widow described the "gaping hole" left in her husband's absence.

"I am left shattered while I navigate this new existence, one I never wanted to know. I have nothing left to do with my days but fight for you, for our family, for the hero they took," she wrote.

She said it was love at first sight when they met, admitting: "I truly loved you from the moment I laid gaze upon your sweet face."

Fire Department New York jacket memorial for Casey Skudin
The dad of two was a respected firefighter in New York. Source: Facebook

Alongside a photo of her husband's casket, she wrote: "Honoring you [sic] has been my absolute pleasure & I will continue to do so until our souls meet again."

The dad of two is being remembered as an "adoring husband" and "stellar father", as well as a "courageous firefighter".

"This is a catastrophic loss for his wife, children, family, friends and Long Beach community," it says on a GoFundMe page set up for the family.

"Angela, Ben, and CJ have an overwhelming amount of healing ahead of them. We hope to support them by taking away any stress along the way."

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