2 children killed after a tree limb fell on to their tent while they were sleeping

2 young people were killed early Friday after a limb from an oak tree fell on their tent as they slept at a popular campground in Yosemite National Park.The names and ages of the minors were not released, and their deaths remain under investigation, according to park spokesman Scott Gediman. Tuolumne County sheriff’s officials said they will not release the young people’s identities.

“Our thoughts are with the families as they grieve this tragedy,” park Supt. Don Neubacher said in a statement.

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The youngsters were sleeping in their tent at the popular family Upper Pines Campground in Yosemite Valley. Then at about 5 a.m., a limb from a black oak collapsed on them, Gediman said.

The park’s dispatchers received numerous 911 calls for medical assistance. When they arrived to the campground, the youngsters were dead.

It is unclear why the tree limb fell, but officials said it wasn’t windy that morning, Gediman said.
“Fallen branches like this one are a common occurrence across the park,” he said.

Situated at 4,000 feet in the Yosemite Valley near Curry Village, the campground with views of the park’s most iconic rock formation Half Dome is the chosen destination for families site.The youngsters’ deaths add to what appears to be a long history of tree-related fatalities at the park.
Two tourists were killed and nine were injured in 1985 when a 25-foot oak branch fell 15 feet onto an open-air tram carrying 50 passengers.
The same series of events happened in 1992, when a branch from an oak tree fell onto another touring bus, injuring seven people. The visitors were stopped on a main road near the Merced River to observe Yosemite Falls. The large branch came crashing as the tour guide spoke.

In Friday’s incident, drought may have played a role but it’s too early to say, Gediman said. Bark beetles steer away from oak, so he said that likely didn’t cause the limb to fall.

Source: LA Times

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