Southern California

Mother of the Bride Identified as Woman Killed After Tree Fell on Wedding Party

At least five people, including a 4-year-old girl, were injured

The woman killed when a giant eucalyptus tree fell on a wedding party taking pictures at a Southern California park Saturday has been identified as the mother of the bride. 

The coroner's office on Monday identified the woman as 61-year-old Margarita Mojarro, of San Pedro. Family members told NBC4 Sunday the bride's mother died at the hospital.

Witnesses described hearing a loud "boom" at Penn Park in Whitterier around 4:30 p.m., followed by screams. 

"It sounded like literally a gunshot went off," said Timothy Leuschner, who lives across the street from the park. "It was scary."

Nearby residents who ran to help those trapped under the tree, estimated at about 80 feet tall, found men and woman dressed in their wedding suits and gowns, covered in blood. 

"I started pulling the tree apart, just ripping the tree apart," said Danielle Carrasco.

Carrasco and others removed large branches to help at least two men who were trying to rescue the bride. 

"They had the bride in their arms," said Carrasco. "I got her on my shoulder and we helped her over. She was just screaming for her mom."

At least five people, including a 4-year-old girl, suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The girl was listed in serious, but stable, condition Sunday.

Penn Park's scenic grounds are popular for weddings and photography. The group was reportedly posing for a photo when the tree toppled onto the wedding party.

An arborist was expected to visit the park to determine what caused the tree to fall. The investigation will require "several days," said City Manager Jeff Collier.

"There are several factors that could have played into this," Collier said. "We did have rain, which we haven't seen in quite some time. We have the drought conditions, and we did have some heavy winds. Those are all possible contributing factors."

The park remained closed Monday.

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