Falling Tree Killed Mother of the Bride
Injured 4-year-old is improving, say relatives
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2016 10:46 AM CST
A eucalyptus tree.   (GettyImages/LisaInGlasses)

(Newser) – The woman who died when a tree uprooted and fell on a wedding party in a California park on Saturday has been identified as the mother of the bride. Authorities say 61-year-old Margarita Mojarro of San Pedro was pronounced dead at the scene in Whittier's Penn Park. Up to 20 others were trapped when the 100-foot-tall eucalyptus tree fell on the wedding party taking pictures around 4:30pm. Five were taken to area hospitals, including the bride's 4-year-old niece, who was in critical condition with head trauma. The girl's mother tells ABC 7 that she is moving her arms and legs. A relative adds she "is progressing and her doctors say she's going to be fine," per People.

Witnesses helped free those trapped by the tree, including members of the wedding party. Two men "had the bride in their arms," a woman tells NBC Bay Area. "I got her on my shoulder and we helped her over. She was just screaming for her mom." City Manager Jeff Collier says an arborist is checking the tree for disease, rot, and soil stability to determine why it fell, though officials have suggested drought, combined with heavy rain and winds on Friday, may have played a role. Collier adds that an arborist also checked the park earlier Saturday for leaning trees and broken branches but found "no apparent issues," per the Whittier Daily News. It was a "freakish situation," he says.

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