One person is dead and at least five are injured after a large eucalyptus tree fell on a wedding party in Southern Calif. on Saturday. The accident happened at Penn Park in Whittier, Calif., about 20 miles east of Los Angeles, while the party was taking photographs.
According to Los Angeles Times, police responded to multiple 911 calls from the park and arrived to find several members of a large wedding party trapped underneath the giant tree. Los Angeles County firefighters used a chain saw to cut away branches in an attempt to free people who were stuck under tree trunks.
Five people were taken to the hospital with injuries, including a 4-year-old girl in critical condition with reported head trauma, and one was pronounced dead at the scene.
“We’re trying to make sure we’re giving all the dignity and respect to that family,” a fire department spokesman said. “They were here for a joyous occasion and then unfortunately a very large tree interrupted that and they right now are going through a lot of issues that we’re trying to make sure [we] support.”
According to the Associated Press, witnesses described hearing a loud crack and seeing people run from the area before the tree fell. An arborist will be assessing the area, but officials say the trunk of the tree could have been weakened by the state's ongoing drought. The area experienced heavy rainfall last week, which could have further contributed to the tree's fragile state.