WHITTIER (CBSLA.com) — One person is dead and as many as six others injured after a tree reportedly fell on a wedding party in Whittier.
One person at the scene was reported to be in cardiac arrest. It was unclear if that was the fatality.
Initial reports said the fallen tree — a large eucalyptus — had trapped as many as 20 people beneath it.
The incident happened around 4:30 p.m. at Penn Park.
Officials said the party was taking pictures at the time the tree fell.
Gilbert Duran was live on Facebook moments after the tree fell. He said he was taking pictures of a quinceanera party nearby when the tree fell.
At least two of the injuries were considered serious, officials said.
The fatal victim was declared dead on scene.
A witness tried to help the injured. She told CBS2/KCAL9 there was very little she could do without heavy equipment.
“I see people screaming,” said Olga Romero, “and I get out of the car and went running and I went to see and there was this lady and she was with a little baby. And I didn’t know what to do. But she was screaming. So I hold the baby and put her down. And she [the woman] had a very big bump on her head. It was bleeding. They both were bleeding. There was blood all over.”
A 3-year-old child — not clear if it was the baby Romero was referring to — is also in critical condition.
CBS2’s Cristy Fajardo reported from the scene Saturday evening.
She said until city officials can determine if surrounding trees are safe, the park will remain off-limits. Caution tape circles the trees and guards are posted.
Witnesses said when the giant tree started to buckle it sounded like fireworks going off. Many told Fajardo they were emotionally scarred by what they saw.
Two young men who attended the quincenera said they saw the wedding party posing for pictures one minute and screaming in terror the next.
Firefighters do not know how many people were trapped by the tree before they got there but said six remained pinned on their arrival.
Crews had to use chainsaws to cut through the giant trunk.
Firefighters are unable to see if the recent rain storms somehow rendered the giant tree unstable.
An arborist has been called to the park to try to determine why the tree fell.