Large Tree Falls During Wedding Party, One Dead And Child In Critical Condition; Drought In California Possible Reason For Tree's Weakening?

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald December 20, 04:00 am

A wedding party in California ended grimly after a large tree fell on some guests killing one and leaving a child in the hospital, who is still in critical condition. Authorities believed that the drought in California weakened the tree causing it to fall.

The incident took place at around 4:30 p.m.. on Saturday at Penn Park in Whittier. Whittier police officials received a number of 911 calls as people asked for assistance because at least 20 people were trapped beneath the tree.

The Los Angeles County firefighters had to use chainsaws to cut the branches and parts of the tree in order to remove the people underneath. Most of the injuries were said to be minor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Officials did not identify the victims, as well as the deceased. But other reports claimed the mother of the bride was the one who got killed in the incident.

From the five injured victims, one is a four-year-old who is said to be in critical condition due to head trauma. It remains unclear, however, if this person was the one referred to as the one who had moderate injuries and had to be taken to a trauma center, as per fire officials.

A fire spokesman said they are not identifying the person killed as they want to give the family all the dignity and respect they can give. The spokesman added the guests were there for a joyous occasion but the large tree falling interrupted the affair and everyone is going through a lot of issues.

The fire spokesman added that it is still fortunate that not more people were injured. It remains unclear what the relationship of the child in critical condition and the deceased are to the bride and groom, The Mercury News reported.

Witnesses claimed that they heard a loud crack and saw people running from the area. The tree reportedly collapsed as wedding guests were taking photos after the ceremony at the park. Officials believed the tree fell down because the ongoing drought in the state weakened the tree.

The fire spokesman continued to explain that the latest incident is a reminder for everyone that they have to be aware of their surroundings although such incident would not have been prevented. He added, "But it's just, again, showing the vegetation of Southern California is still very stressed from the drought we've had over the last five years."

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