The mother of the bride is believed to have died after a 100-foot tree fell on top of a wedding party in southern California, trapping guests underneath.
A tall eucalyptus toppled around 4.30pm Saturday in Whittier’s Penn Park, while the bridal party had gathered nearby to take a group photo. Five guests were injured and a four-year-old girl was left in critical condition due to severe head trauma.
Footage shows rescuers giving CPR to a woman injured by the fall. She is lying down on the floor, still wearing her high-heeled party shoes, as three men try to revive her.
One of the guests, described as an older woman, died on her way to the hospital. A family friend told CBS Los Angeles she was the mother of the bride.
A witness who was in the park for a quinceañera said she saw the bride screaming about her unconscious mother.
‘She was limping a little bit, but she was screaming about her mom – they couldn’t wake her up,’ Rene Zaldivar told NBC Los Angeles.
Another witness, photographer Gilbert Duran, posted a video on Facebook saying he had helped pulled a woman from under the tree. Duran said it was the mother of the bride, adding: ‘I’m pretty sure she’s dead.’
Police haven’t identified the victim.
The tree fell around 4.30pm in Penn Park and rescue efforts continued throughout the evening.
Rescuers used chainsaws to pull out people from under the branches.
It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the tree to fall. Officials speculated that the California drought could have weakened the eucalyptus.
The four-year-old girl was left in critical condition after suffering head trauma, according to Whittier police.
The other injured had minor to moderate injuries, NBC Los Angeles reported.
A witness said the tree had split in two before it collapsed and landed on several guests.
The Los Angeles County fire department responded to the scene after receiving a report about the incident around 4.45pm.
A woman who was taking photos with her family in a different part of the park said a baby girl was among those trapped under the branches.
She said witnesses rushed to the scene after the tree toppled and tried to pull people from the debris.
‘We just heard something crack, like, really hard, and people were yelling,’ she told KTLA.
Some managed to get out from under the tree on their own, but six had to be freed by firefighters.
Witnesses posted photos of the park before the tragedy on Instagram. One of them said a quinceañera party was also there that afternoon.
All guests trapped under the tree were accounted for as of Saturday evening.
Authorities didn’t confirm whether heavy rains the previous evening had played a part in the tree’s fall.
They did say however that the eucalyptus could have been weakened by the California drought, ABC 7 reported.
Guests were later taken to a senior center not far from the park and were offered help by mental health professionals.
Source: Daily Mail UK