Two children were killed when a tree limb fell on them in their tent in Yosemite National Park early Friday, officials said.
About 5 a.m., a limb from a black oak tree fell in Upper Pines Campground in Yosemite Valley, hitting a tent in which the children were sleeping. Park rangers went to the campground to provide medical assistance, but both children were dead at the scene, officials said.
No details about the children’s family were released, nor were the names, ages and hometowns of the victims. The incident is under investigation.
“Our thoughts are with the families as they grieve this tragedy,” park Superintendent Don Neubacher said.
Upper Pines is a popular, drive-in campground alongside the Merced River near Curry Village. It has 238 sites and is open year-round.
Park spokesman Scott Gediman said falling branches are a common occurrence in Yosemite Valley. He said there was no connection between Friday’s incident and the state’s four-year drought. Statewide, millions of trees are being ravaged by the effects of the drought, including disease and beetle infestation. But black oaks have not been harshly affected.
It’s the third time a falling tree limb has resulted in death in and near the park in the last 30 years. In 1985, a tree limb fell on a park tour bus, killing two passengers and injuring nine. In 2012, a park concession worker died when a tree limb fell on his tent during a windstorm. And in 2013, a counselor at a summer camp just outside the park died when a tree limb fell on him at a campfire.