SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A large tree limb fell in North Beach’s Washington Square Park in San Francisco early Tuesday evening, leaving five people — including a two-year-old child who was taken to an area hospital — with minor injuries, authorities said..
San Francisco police confirmed that a large tree branch fell in the park at around 5;30 p.m. and that branches from the limb struck a group of people. The good news was that the injuries appeared to be minor, police said.
“I heard a crackling from a distance and i ran over and i checked to see if it was a car crash,” said witness Stefanie Abrim.
The branch fell near Filbert Street and covered a sizable section of the park.
Police later said that one juvenile — the two-year-old — was transported to the hospital as a precautionary measures and four other people were treated and released at the scene for non-life threatening injuries.
Authorities did not provide specifics as far as the injuries sustained.
A section of the park was cordoned off by police tape where the limb came down. Emergency responders were seen with a stretcher at the scene.
A witness who was shaken up by the incident said “it was a big explosion” that sent debris and splinters flying.
“Everybody just ran over and picked up the tree branch and asked if there was anybody underneath,” the woman told KPIX 5.
“It looks pretty heavy. I think people were trying to lift it. I just saw everyone rushing over in the park and I saw some people walking over super concerned.” said Abrim.
There were still crowds in the park after the incident visible in video shot by KPIX 5 crews shortly before 7 p.m. There were likely more people in the park than normal as locals and visitors tried to cool off during the unusually warm evening.
KPIX 5 reporter Andria Borba was at the location and tweeted two images. She said that the bulk of the branch fell on a planter and sidewalk in the park, with only thinner top branches reaching the grass. The San Francisco city attorney was expected to arrive and survey the scene with an arborist Tuesday evening.
SFPD is reporting minor injuries. We expect the SF city attorney to inspect momentarily with an arborist. The bulk of the large branch fell on planter and sidewalk – only thinner top branches hit the grass. @KPIXtv pic.twitter.com/dsAnHE7Aas
— Andria Borba (@AndriaKPIX) May 27, 2020
This was not the first time that people have been injured by a falling branch in the North Beach park. In 2016, a 100-pound branch broke off a 50-foot-tall pine tree in the park and struck Emma Zhou as she watched her children play. She was paralyzed from the waist down.
Her family sued the city of San Francisco for later that year, saying the city’s parks department failed to properly maintain the Canary Island pine trees in Washington Square Park.. In 2018, the city paid the family $14.5 million settlement.
Betty Yu contributed to this story.