One woman was killed and five more were injured after a large tree fell on a wedding party who were doing a photoshoot in a Whittier, California park Saturday afternoon.
According to a statement from the Whittier Police Department, authorities responded at 4:30 p.m. to a report that a large eucalyptus tree split in two and landed on several people.
Those who were injured were taken to local hospitals, and one 4-year-old female “in critical condition as a result of head trauma” was taken to a trauma center.
Of the six victims, one “succumbed to their injuries.” Officials did not reveal the identity of the dead victim, only noting it was an “older woman.”
However, a family friend told NBC4 it was the mother of the bride. So awful.
Aside from the small child, who was transported to the trauma center, all other injuries reported were “minor scrapes and bruises.”
In a press conference held on Saturday night, an official from the Los Angeles County Fire Department said truck and engine companies used chainsaws to free those trapped under the tree, explaining:
“The officers responding initially went to work right away, did the best they could to start getting larger limbs and people out from under the tree and then our partners at L.A. County Fire arrived shortly thereafter and we were able to cooperatively manage that scene and start getting victims out and getting victims triaged.”
Eyewitnesses and local NBC News affiliate Gadi Schwartz shared footage of the rescue mission on Twitter, sharing:
#Breaking– Rescuers in #Whittier r working 2 free victims trapped after a large tree fell on a wedding party. @NBCLA live with updates now. pic.twitter.com/iUJrfsQyBS
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) December 18, 2016
The fire official said the tragic tree fall “could have been a lot worse” had there been more people directly under the tree.
The city is currently analyzing weather conditions as factors contributing to the tree’s collapse — including the drought conditions and “large amount” of rain that has swept the southern California region lately.
First responders and eyewitnesses were provided with mental health professionals to deal with the devastating incident.
Our hearts go out to the victim’s loved ones and all those who were subjected to this wedding nightmare.
[Image via Twitter.]