Dad and girl hurt when tree falls at Santee park

Posted at 3:30 PM, Dec 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-28 10:08:21-05

A father and his 5-year-old daughter are recovering after powerful winds knocked a tree on top of them at a Santee park.

"It's one of those safe havens for the most part," said Eric Jesperson. Big Rock Park is normally filled with young children and families, but Saturday it was filled with paramedics and firefighters.

"Imagining that a child even be injured for me is difficult for me to even take myself," said Jesperson.

Jesperson came to the park to play football with his son. First he saw the downed 40-foot pine tree, then realized someone was underneath.

"The tree was tall, I can't imagine how much force it fell on him, but very frightening to say the least," said Jesperson.

Paramedics took a father and his 5-year-old daughter to the hospital. The father complained of leg and back pain.

Families at the park say the wind was strong, loud and overbearing.

"The wind was blowing so hard," Jesperson said.

Neighbors heard the loud crashing noise and rushed over to see what was going on.

"It's terrifying because it's a park. It's frequented by kids. It's a playground and you know there are children involved," said neighbor, Scott Wasilevich. Wasilevich and others are left wondering about the safety of the park. "If this one tree went, are there similar trees over there? Can they go in a high wind as well?"

There is no word on the father or daughter's condition.