Friday, July 5, 2013

Huge Tree Kills Camp Counselor Near Yosemite

On July 3 a massive black oak tree fell on a counselor at a remote summer camp near Yosemite National Park,California,killing her instantly.Annais Rittenberg,21,was an art counselor at the Camp Tawonga,located on Stanislaus National Forest near the town of Groveland.She was an environmental studies student at UC Santa Cruz.
Four other adult staff members were hurt by the crashing tree,which was 53 inches in diameter and 72 feet tall.It snapped off at 32 feet,and the top 40 feet of it took down power lines when it fell on the camp staff gathered around a campfire at breakfast.The children were eating in a nearby dining hall and were uninjured.
US Forest Service rangers and firefighters cut the tree into pieces following the incident.Pacific Gas and Electric had inspected the trees in the area in December 2012,but found no problems at the time.There were no signs of decay or disease in the oak that fell,a Tuolumne County sherrif's office spokesman said,nor were there any weather concerns.
The injured staff are expected to fully recover.About 300 campers and 150 staff were in the heavily forested camp at the time of the tragic accident.It is so remote,there is no cell phone access to it,although there is email.
Ms.Rittenberg was also a popular DJ and world music director at the UC Santa Cruz radio station.She had traveled to South Africa,worked with injured animals and hiked to the summit of Mt.Lyell,the highest peak in Yosemite National Park.
This blog extends its sincere condolences to her family and friends.

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