The sister of a Minnesota man killed by a fallen tree at Muir Woods National Monument on Tuesday remembered her brother as cheerful and happy.
Subhradeep Dutta was visiting his sister, Swagata Dutta, in the Bay Area for the holiday, and they were on a hike at the North Bay park on Christmas Eve.
The moment was still so surreal for Swagata, who couldn't believe her big brother was taken away right before her very eyes.
Swagata and her boyfriend were on a hike with Subhradeep in Muir Woods, and as they were leaving the park at closing, they heard a disturbing sound of rocks falling.
"I knew by instinct something was coming down," Swagata said. "Me and my brother ran in one direction, and my boyfriend ran in another direction."
The tree came crashing down in only a matter of seconds.
"There was some loose debris that spilled on me," she said. "I got out of it and then I yelled at him from the other side."
Her boyfriend yelled back, letting her know he was OK. But there was no sound coming from her brother.
"Then I noticed his shoe, my brother, and I noticed something was very wrong," Swagat said. "We just happened to be at the wrong time at the wrong place."
As Swagata looked at the last pictures taken of her brother on Tuesday, she was having trouble believing there could be anything wrong with a walk through a national park during the holiday. She would like to see park officials post warning signs.
"Are there any precautionary measures taken, like after rains or something? There are no warning up there," she said.
The area where the tree fell is has been closed to the public, but the rest of the park remained open.
Park officials say Muir Woods sees about a million visitors a year, and this tragic event is rare and may be the result of recent winter storms.
"He followed all the rules," Swagata said, "so it’s unfortunate that this happened to him."