Falling Tree Kills Camp Counselor Near Yosemite
Staff members were eating breakfast outside at the time
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 4, 2013 5:44 PM CDT
Stock image of a fallen tree.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Staff members at a summer camp near Yosemite National Park were having breakfast outdoors yesterday when they felt what the parent of one counselor described as an earthquake. About 40 feet of a large, 53-inch diameter black oak tree snapped off and came crashing down from 32 feet up, killing a Annais Rittenberg, a 21-year-old art counselor, and injuring four others at Camp Tawonga, located on the Tuolumne River.

No children were harmed. They were inside a nearby dining hall having breakfast. The tree took down power lines near the campfire area and dining hall but did not damage any buildings. Officials who looked at the tree's stump yesterday said the tree showed no obvious signs of rotting or disease. Weather also did not appear to be a factor.

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Showing 3 of 22 comments
Jul 5, 2013 7:53 AM CDT
So you show a stock image of a fallen tree...which doesn't even match the story line.....unsat!
Jul 5, 2013 7:10 AM CDT
Jul 4, 2013 10:05 PM CDT
I would say the AP's conclusion that weather "also did not appear to be a factor" is in error. The West Coast has been sweltering under triple-digit temps for about a week now. For instance the weather in Fresno today was 107F www.weather.com/weather/today/Fresno+CA+USCA0406?sourceid=mozilla-search (Fresno is down in the Central Valley of California below & between Yosemite & King's Canyon National Parks) while the weather at the park today was about 80F www.weather.com/weather/today/Yosemite+National+Park+CA+CANPYOSE:13:US This kind of long-term heatwave stresses big trees out & they can swell & fracture & before you know it a 40-foot length of a 4-1/2' wide black oak tree snaps off & comes crashing down, in this case killing that poor camp counselor who was unfortunately sitting directly underneath the falling branch. I would say weather had everything to do with the thing breaking & that branch falling down.