Society

Tree Collapses At Wedding Party, Bride's Mother Dies (Photos)

| by Jonathan Constante

A California woman is dead after a giant tree fell during her daughter's wedding party.

The incident occurred in Whittier's Penn Park Dec. 17 at around 4:30 p.m., KNBC reported. A 100-foot-tall tree fell, killing one person and injuring five others, including a 5-year-old girl who remains in critical condition due to severe head trauma.

Anahi Vazquez was at the event taking photos with her family in a different area of the park at the time, KTLA reported. She said she saw people rushing toward the scene to help pull party guests from the wreckage.

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"We just heard something crack, like, really hard, and people were yelling," Vazquez told KTLA.

According to a family friend, one of the victims was the bride's mother, KCBS reported. Paramedics tried reviving her with CPR, but she reportedly died while on her way to the hospital.

A witness said she saw the bride crying out for help.

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"She was limping a little bit, but she was screaming about her mom – they couldn't wake her up," Rene Zaldivar told KNBC.

The tree trapped about 20 people when it fell, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said. Firefighters had to use chainsaws to cut through the branches and rescue the party guests.

"The mother lost her life. A 4-year-old is injured. How do you explain it? You can’t," Whittier Mayor Joe Vinatieri told the Los Angeles Times. "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."

There is no confirmation at this time as to what caused the tree to collapse, but some officials believe the California drought may 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," Los Angeles County Fire Department Deputy Chief John Tripp told the Times.

All other guests who attended the bridal party were accounted for.

"Fortunately, there weren't more people injured by the tree collapse," Tripp added during a news conference. "It could have been a lot worse."

Sources: KNBC, KTLA, KCBS, Los Angeles Times / Photo credit: KTLA, OnScene.tv, Instagram via Daily Mail
 

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