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. (Read more falling tree stories.)