It happened Saturday afternoon at Whittier’s Penn Park as a bridal party had gathered near a 100-foot eucalyptus tree to take a group photo.
For reasons currently being investigated, the tree fell over and trapped up to 20 people. One person, currently being reported as the mother of the bride, was killed.
Gilbert Duran posted on Facebook that he helped pull the woman from under the tree, saying he was pretty sure she was already dead.
“They’re taking pictures under this tree and all of a sudden it jut collapsed,” Duran said. “We just watched some little kids go flat underneath that tree.”
Five other people suffered minor and moderate injuries, including a 4-year-old girl who was reportedly in critical condition due to a head injury.
Why the tree fell is unknown at this time, but officials said it probably the California drought could have weakened the 50-year-old tree.
“We’ve seen this happen throughout Southern California with both the drought conditions— trees are stressed — and we did have a large amount of rain,” said Deputy Chief John Tripp of the Los Angeles County Fire Departments.
“The mother lost her life. A 4-year-old is injured. How do you explain it? You can’t,” said Whittier Mayor Joe Vinatieri. “The tragedy of the situation is on the hearts and minds of many people. We need to pray for the family because of the injuries and losing someone on a day that’s supposed to be a great celebration.”
The park is currently closed until the city evaluates the other trees and ensures there is no risk of them falling.Tags: Accident, California, Crime, park, tree, wedding, Whittier's Penn Park