ALAMEDA (KPIX) — Students at Alameda’s Encinal High were shaken over a freak accident at school softball game. A father sitting in the stands was crushed when a giant tree came crashing down.
He was taken to nearby hospital.
It happened Friday after school. John Harrell helped save him.
“We were playing ball and heard loud popping noise. Sounded like thunder,” he said.
Harrell first heard the sound of a tree falling and then he saw a man trapped underneath it. The force of the tree also took out part of the picnic bench the man was sitting on at the time.
“His legs trapped under base of tree. I was looking out for his head,” said Harrell. “His head was impaled by a branch. There were scars on his face.”
Emergency crews had to chainsaw the branches to get the father out. He was at Washington Park watching his daughter play pre-season softball for Encinal’s varsity team.
“So somthing like this tragic – happens all the sudden. People are still sad about it,” said Nicole Shackleford, who lives in Alameda.
Little is left of the Monterey Pine. The city has since chopped most of it down.
They also cut down another one just like it as a precaution. The city says the tree that fell appeared to be healthy but the wet soil from recent rain, along with the tree being on a slope may have caused it to collapse.
“The tree had really big branches,” said Harrell.
Alameda County School District spokesperson Susan Davis responded Monday to the incident.
“We did have counselors at the school today because we understand how incredibly traumatic it would be for teenagers to witness this kind of accident,” she said. “Our hearts go out to the family and all the team members having gone through this event,” she said.
The city of Alameda is sending crews through all the parks to reassess the trees after these recent storms. They want to make sure the ground isn’t so saturated that other trees cpme down.
The father remains in serious condition at the hospital.