2 women, child hit by falling tree branch in Riverside Park

Posted at 11:23 AM, May 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-18 17:10:26-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Three people were taken to the hospital, including a mother and child after a massive tree branch fell on them in Riverside Park.

The incident happened Thursday around 10:15 a.m. in the Grand Rapids park during a moderate-severe wind advisory.

A FOX 17 crew was in the park following a TV crew from Sweden when they heard a loud crack and crash in the distance followed by screams of people trapped under the tree.

"When we arrived it was total chaos," said Carina Berg, TV Host for the upcoming Swedish TV show.

Berg and her crew were filming with the help of the West Michigan Tree Service for a spot on their upcoming show called 'Most Dangerous Jobs.' When the incident happened, members of the West Michigan Tree Services and TV crews worked to free the victims.

"I've been in the business for 40 years and I've never seen anything like this first-hand," said Vic Foerster, an arborist consultant for the tree service.

Brian Rathbun, an arborist foreman with the West Michigan Tree Services, provided first aid before paramedics arrived on scene.

"We heard the crash, looked over and thought, 'Tree limbs fall, it happens occasionally.' And then I heard shouting," Rathbun said.

A woman was taken to the hospital with injuries to her legs and a laceration on top of her head. A child was also taken to the hospital, appearing to be in good condition. Another woman was also taken for an apparent head injury.

Police on scene said it was serendipitous the tree service and TV crew were on scene to give aid when it happened.

"Fate, good luck, whatever you wanna call it," said Sgt. Dave Siver with Grand Rapids Police. "Luckily they were out of the main path there."

Crews are still on the scene investigating. Winds Thursday morning were very strong with some gusts between 45-50 miles per hour. A Wind Advisory is in effect until 8 p.m.