1 Dead, 5 Injured After Large Tree Falls on Wedding Party in Whittier

One person was killed and five others injured after a large tree fell on top of a wedding party at a Southern California park, fire officials said.

One person was killed and five others were injured after a large tree fell on top of a wedding party at a Southern California park on Saturday afternoon, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. 

Multiple people were trapped after a tree toppled over around 4:30 p.m. in Whittier's Penn Park, fire officials said. 

"I heard the crackling and I'm looking up and it was just an odd sound," witness Mary Escarga told NBC4. 

A wedding party was taking pictures after the ceremony when a 100-foot tall eucalyptus tree fell, trapping up to 20 people, the fire department said. Chainsaws were used to remove those who were trapped underneath the tree's branches. 

One person was killed and five people, including a young girl, were injured. The five people who were injured suffered minor and moderate injuries and were taken to a hospital for treatment. They are expected to recover. 

"The scene was very chaotic," said Sgt. Jason Zuhlke of the Whittier Police Department.

Rene Zaldivar, who was at the park for a quinceañera, said he saw the bride during the chaos.

"She was limping a little bit, but she was screaming about her mom – they couldn’t wake her up."

A search dog was brought in to search for additional victims who could still be trapped. 

"Fortunately, there weren't more people injured by the tree collapse," John Tripp, a Los Angeles County Fire Department deputy chief, said at a news conference. "It could have been a lot worse." 

The wedding party was taken to a nearby senior center where mental health counselors were made available to them.


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Officials could not confirm that the heavy rains reported Friday evening played a factor in the tree collapse. 

Arborists are expected to investigate why the tree fell.

The identity of the person who was killed has not yet been released.

NBC4's Kate Larsen contributed to this report.

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