ATHERTON (CBS SF) — The parents of a toddler on Monday talked about the frightening accident over the weekend involving a falling tree limb in at Menlo College that left their little girl with a skull fracture and a torn eyelid.
Two-year-old Zealyn Garcia was recovering at home after suffering the injuries when she and her mother were struck by a massive tree branch that fell during a company picnic in Atherton Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday afternoon, the family said there was no wind that might have triggered the falling branch and no warning when it suddenly came crashing down.
“Right before it happened, I just heard a really loud cracking sound, like a roof or something…a house collapsing,” said Jasmine Garcia.
“Like a crack; like something crunching,” agreed Jasmine’s husband, Chris Garcia.
According to Menlo Park fire officials, the call about the incident at 2:24 p.m. reported a large tree branch that was three-to-four feet in diameter falling on a table at a company picnic at the school.
Menlo Park fire officials said hundreds were attending a Riverbed Technologies company picnic at the college when the branch fell.
Initial reports indicated that the falling branch only caused minor injuries.
“When it hit the ground, it was kind of like — WHOOMP!” Explained Chris Garcia. “And you could feel the ground move a little bit.”
Garcia saw the branch knock down his wife and their two year-old daughter.
Jasmine got up right away, but Zealyn was face down.
“She’s not moving, and at that point, I didn’t know what to expect,” remembered the still shaken father. “I really didn’t. It was hard to see.”
He rushed over and picked her up. His baby girl began to cry, her face covered in blood.
“That was just a relief to me, I knew she was alive,” he said.
The two-year-old underwent surgery to repair her eyelid which had been cut. She also suffered a fractured skull.
Zealyn’s mother Jasmine broke her toe and sprained her wrist.
“We’re lucky that we’re all alive and were able to pull through,” she said.
“God was definitely watching out for our family. And we thank God for keeping our family as safe as he did,” agreed Chris Garcia.
The accident left the Garcias wondering how often are the trees at the school are inspected and whether the terrifying experience could have been prevented.
“I’m upset for what my wife and daughter have to go through right now,” said Chris Garcia. “And something needs to be done.”