Society

Tragedy Strikes Wedding Party When 100-Foot Tree Falls

| by Kathryn Schroeder

One woman was killed and five others were injured at a Whittier, California, wedding after a large tree fell when the wedding party was taking photos.

A witness said the eucalyptus tree split in two and landed on several people, according to KTLA.

The fire department was called to the scene, and emergency responders had to cut six people out from under the tree.

A man from Whittier posted a video to Twitter of the firefighters cutting the tree with chainsaws to rescue the trapped wedding guests.

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“People are under the tree…” the Dec. 17 tweet said, captioning the video.

According to the fire department, one older woman died en route to the hospital, KTLA reports.

A 4-year-old girl suffered head trauma and is in critical condition, according to the Whittier Police Department.

All other victims had minor injuries and were treated at local hospitals.

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As many as 20 people were trapped by the tree's branches.

"I heard the crackling and I'm looking up and it was just an odd sound," witness Mary Escarga told KNBC.

"The scene was very chaotic," Sgt. Jason Zuhlke of the Whittier Police Department said.

The bride was okay, but her mother may have had problems.

"She was limping a little bit, but she was screaming about her mom -- they couldn’t wake her up,” Rene Zaldivar, who was at the park, said of the bride.

Officials believe the 100-foot eucalyptus tree may have been weakened by years of California drought and that the recent heavy rainfall could have contributed to its falling, KABC reports. The other trees in the area will be examined for possible falling danger.

"Fortunately, there weren't more people injured by the tree collapse," John Tripp, a Los Angeles County Fire Department deputy chief, told reporters, according to KNBC. "It could have been a lot worse." 

Sources: KTLA, KNBC, KABCChief Pat/Twitter / Photo credit: KTLA

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