A female hiker was killed Sunday morning while walking on a trail in Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve in Cupertino.
The Santa Clara County Fire Department said they were called to the scene at approximately 10 a.m. Efforts from bystanders to remove the hiker from underneath the tree were unsuccessful until the county fire department and Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District officials arrived. The hiker was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities say the hiker was on the park’s Stephen E. Abbors trail.
Midpen’s spokesperson Matt Anderson said it wasn’t immediately clear whether it was an entire tree that fell or just a limb. It also wasn’t clear whether the recent storms were a factor in the accident, said Anderson, but the highly saturated soil may have been the cause.
National Weather Service meteorologist Sean Miller said that the storms that popped up Sunday morning had generally produced gusts of only 20 to 25 mph. That’s far less powerful than many of the other thunderstorms that have hit the region in recent weeks.
Miller said trees in the Bay Area have generally been more prone to falling ever since a parade of atmospheric river storms pummeled the Bay Area in late December through mid-January. Those storms, combined with continued precipitation and gusty conditions in recent weeks, have caused soils to be saturated and trees to become increasingly stressed.
“With the saturated soil — again we don’t know what happened in this case — that can make them more prone to topple if they are already damaged,” Miller said. “I would just advise people to be cautious, especially if they are out in forested areas.”
Source:: The Mercury News