Whittier Officials Seek Cause Of Tree Tragedy In Popular Park

WHITTIER (CBSLA.com)  —  An investigation into the cause of a deadly accident in a Whittier park continued Monday.

Saturday, a large eucalyptus tree fell on a wedding party taking pictures at the wedding of Patricia Mojarro and Alvaro Garcia. One woman, the 61-year-old mother of the bride, was killed, the 3-year-old flower girl is in critical condition and five others are injured.

CBS 2’s Dave Lopez reported from picturesque and historic Penn Park, which dates back to the 1920s. Whittier officials said there has never been an incident with trees like the one Saturday.

City Manager Jeff Collier said tree experts who work for the city inspected the trees Friday and Saturday morning after the heavy rains and wind on Thursday and found nothing wrong.

Officials noticed a slope near the tree that fell that may have gave way. They will also continue to look into whether drought, wind and heavy rain was the cause.

The park will remain closed during the investigation.

CBS2’s Tina Patel reported from Penn Park Sunday where witnesses to the tragedy still couldn’t shake the horrific images of people being crushed.

 

“Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I was just thinking about it the whole time honestly,” said witness Leslie Pina.

She was in the park with her family celebrating their grandmother’s birthday Sunday afternoon.

“I  thought it was fireworks or something. but then my brother screamed, he said the tree was falling down,” said Ashley Pina.

“I just saw it fall, people were running. The branches caught them,” said Leslie.

RELATED LINK: 1 Dead, 6 Injured After Tree Falls On Wedding Party In Whittier

She said her father helped the groom who appeared to be having trouble breathing.

Other people were trapped under the large branches until firefighters could cut through the tree.

“I saw people screaming, full of blood. honestly, I didn’t know what to do. I just started crying,” said Leslie.

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