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Giant Sequoia Squashes Florida SUV At Park
POSTED: 7:34 a.m. EDT August 19, 2003
UPDATED: 11:01 a.m. EDT August 19, 2003
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. -- A 200-foot-tall tree on Sequoia National Park's main road fell and squashed a parked sport utility vehicle from Florida, park officials said Monday.
The giant sequoia, believed to be about 1,000 years old, fell Sunday at about 5:15 p.m. along the Generals Highway several miles east of the Giant Forest Museum, said park spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet.
No one was injured but the Jeep Grand Cherokee was left as a pile of crumpled metal, Picavet said.
The vehicle was parked alongside the road.
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"They had hiked to a waterfall close by," Picavet said of the occupants. "They said they heard this huge crash like a sonic boom and they saw the top of a tree going over. They didn't put it together until they got back and saw it had fallen on their car."
Picavet said the tree had old fire damage that contributed to the collapse.
"Only half of the tree was still alive," she said. "These trees do fall. It's not unusual. But it is extremely unusual for one to fall and crush a car."
Picavet said the road was closed for about 15 minutes while park crews and firefighters cleaned gas and oil from the road and cleared tree fragments.
She said park officials will leave the tree where it fell.
The vehicle's owner had driven to California from Florida.
"This vehicle made it all the way from Florida without any problems," Picavet said. "We're all interested to see if the insurance company treats this as an act of God."
The park service released no additional information on the people who had been in the Jeep.