By Cody Roark
On Tuesday, a California redwood tree falls and kills a hiker at a national park. The incident took place at Muir Woods National Monument Park when a hiker was visiting the park for Christmas Eve, according to authorities.
Subhradeep Dutta, 28, of Edina, Minnesota, was walking on a marked trail with two others at around 4:35 p.m. An enormous redwood fell and pinned him under the trunk of the 200 feet tall trunk. The trunk measured more than four feet in diameter.
Dutta was pronounced dead at the scene, while a woman was taken to the hospital for injuries related to the falling debris. Another man hiking with the group was left unharmed.
According to Dutta’s Facebook page, he was a software engineer who enjoys traveling and taking occasional hikes. He posted photos of himself visiting national parks and natural wonders around the United States. From the Rocky Mountains to the Grand Canyon, Dutta made time to see the country.
A park spokesman, Charles Strickfaden, said the incident occurred after two weeks of winter storms in the area. “This is a very rare and isolated event that may have occurred due to wet ground from recent winter storms, around the roots of the tree,” the park spokesman explained. “The National Park Service extends its thoughts and prayers to all those involved,” he added
Redwood trees have a root system that extends over 100 feet from the base of the tree. The massive trees thrive in moist, coastal climates where their roots intertwine with the roots of other redwoods to provide stability.
Muir Woods National Monument Park receives almost one million visitors a year. It was open Thursday and only had the areas directly affected by the fallen debris closed to the public.
According to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, a forensic post-mortem examination has been scheduled for Friday, December 27, 2019. The cause and manner of death will be pending the conclusion of the investigation being completed by the National Park Service and the Marin County Sheriff’s Office – Coroner Division. No further information will be released by the Coroner Division at this time, as this is an active and ongoing investigation.