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Tree trimmer injured at University City hotel

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Posted at 3:53 PM, Jan 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-23 21:34:31-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A towering palm tree and the tree trimmer strapped to it came toppling down inside the lobby area at a University City-area hotel Thursday.

The tree was being cut down at Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego-La Jolla, 4550 La Jolla Village Drive, when it struck a person shortly before 11 a.m., according to police and the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

San Diego Police told 10News the injured man was a tree trimmer.

Medics took the victim, to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.

Joe Jaha, a supervisor at Arbor West Tree Surgeons, says a 3-man crew was at the hotel to take down three large palms in the lobby. He says the tree trimmer was 30 feet up the final, 40-foot palm. He had taken off the top and was trying to bring it down when the tree uprooted, with the tree and tree trimmer crashing to the ground. The tree trimmer, a man in his 30s, suffered a broken leg and arm.

"It had highly unusual, shallow roots, which we couldn't detect until it was too late. OSHA arrived and said we were in total compliance. It was a freak accident," said Jaha.

The Hilton sent 10News the following statement:

We can confirm that a third party contractor was injured today while trimming a tree inside our hotel. Hotel team members immediately contacted 911 and the worker has been transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. The wellbeing, safety and security of our guests is of paramount importance. Our team is sending thoughts for a speedy recovery.