On Christmas Eve, around 4:30 p.m., while the park was open to visitors, a group of people were hiking on a trail in Muir Woods. Without warning, a tree fell on Hillside Trail, where three people were walking.
A man was pinned down by the tree and killed, a woman was hurt by falling debris and taken to a hospital, and another man escaped uninjured.
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The Marin County Coroner said first responders were immediately called to the trail, and found Subhradeep Dutta "unconscious and lifeless" on the ground, beneath a large Redwood tree. The 28-year-old lived in Edina, Minnesota.
In a statement, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area said in part:
"The Hillside Trail and part of the main trail remain closed until the trunk and branches are removed by the park tree crew after the holiday weekend...The tree fell of natural, unknown, causes following a persistent series of winter storms over the last week and a half, prior to this incident."
"It's a freak accident. You never know when things like that are going to happen, it's just kind of one of things, you gotta take life as it comes," said Brian Walsh.
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Brian and his wife, Taylor Walsh, were hoping to visit Muir Woods Thursday, despite the deadly incident.
"I'm sure that they do a lot of preservation and clean-up on the trail, but to have a tree naturally fall from age and probably from being weathered over the years, it's kind of the wrong place at the wrong time," said Taylor.
Though officials say this week's incident at Muir Woods was an isolated event, aging trees, and fragile root systems, eroded by rain, are common in the Bay Area.
A 200-foot Redwood tree, with a 4-foot trunk diameter, fell onto a trail in Muir Woods where people were hiking on Christmas Eve. The tree killed 28 y/o Subhradeep Dutta and injured a woman. My photographer @DeanCSmith for perspective, next to a different Redwood in Marin County pic.twitter.com/c21SAzmRAx— Kate Larsen (@KateABC7) December 27, 2019