Teen crushed by tree branch near Oakland's Fairyland

Saturday, December 5, 2015
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Authorities say a 16-year-old has died after being crushed by a tree branch outside Children's Fairyland in Oakland.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A tree branch left a teenager dead at a popular East Bay family spot. An investigation into what went wrong is just getting underway.

The accident happened right next to Children's Fairyland in Oakland, along the shores of Lake Merritt. A long portion of the tree snapped, killing the boy around 6 p.m. Friday. It appears the tree had already been weakened because the top of it either broke off or died sometime in the past. It is something an arborist is going to have to determine now that someone has been killed there.

It happened right off the trail around Lake Merritt, next to the Fairyland sign mounted in the side of a hill. A witness says three teens were sitting on a long branch when another 16-year-old boy jumped up and grabbed onto the end of it. The heavy branch snapped, the teens fell off and branch struck the boy in the head.

The witness tells me he gave the boy CPR, but he quickly realized there was no hope because it looked like the boy's neck was badly broken. The victim's parents and other adults were at the park celebrating a birthday. All of them gathered around and wept as the county coroner took away the body.

"It was just like wow, you know. I feel very bad for the family, you know, during the holidays. My prayers go out to them," Gina Lopez, a passerby, said.

Oakland police say it appears this was all an unfortunate accident. As the boy's body was taken away, his parents were given a chance to have a moment with their son. They thanked the police and went home in tears.