Monday, March 6, 2017

Contract employee Destiny Borges, 20, crashed to death after a Ponderosa tree fell on her within Yosemite National Park at a campground near Half Dome Village

Authorities did not say where the accident happened but a witness said it was at a campground near Curry Village. (KFSN)

20-year-old killed by fallen tree at Yosemite identified as contract employee

Park rangers say the tent cabin area in Half Dome Village where the accident happened will remain closed for the next several days. (KFSN)

By Nathalie Granda
Monday, March 06, 2017 06:19PM

Park rangers are continuing to investigate after a tree fell in Yosemite National Park Sunday and killed a 20-year-old woman.

The victim has been identified as Destiny Borges - a contracted employee from Ceres, CA. Park rangers say the tent cabin area in Half Dome Village where the accident happened will remain closed for the next several days.

Park officials say the park did experience inclement weather on Sunday - including snow and heavy winds. While they say that could be why the tree fell, they're not ruling anything out as they continue to investigate.

Officials say a Ponderosa tree fell around 10 a.m. and smashed onto the tent cabin, and officials say a branch struck Borges.

"It seems that this was a tragic accident," said Scott Gediman, who is a speaker for the park. "Our thoughts go out to the family. It's a horrible, horrible thing."

Gediman says the tent cabin area in Half Dome Village often houses employees and visitors. It's now closed for the next several days while the park service investigates.

Gediman says the park experienced heavy snow and high winds on Sunday

"We'll look into all the factors just to see what led to it and basically go from there," he said.

Park officials say Borges was staying at the park working for a company contracted by the park concessionaire. Gediman says they currently have an active hazardous tree program, where they cut down trees if they pose a danger.

However, Yosemite has millions of trees, and he says it's impossible to know when they will fall.

"We do what we can to prevent this but some things, things like this, happen," he said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Borges and it described her as "beautiful" and bright." It's already raised more than $6,000 in 7 hours.

Gediman says once the investigation is complete, the autopsy will be handled by the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office.

By Cory James
Sunday, March 05, 2017 11:35PM
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A woman is dead Sunday after a tree fell on her within Yosemite National Park, according to the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office.

Park officials did not say where or when the accident happened but a witness said it was at a campground near Half Dome Village.

"It was very close to my tent. It would be just two tents over," the witness said.

He and his wife were not there when the tree came crashing down. The two were returning from getting coffee - only to return and come face-to-face with park rangers stopping them from going in.

"There was a fire truck and an ambulance and there was a body being put into the ambulance, and I looked at the feet hoping to see them moving and I didn't see that," he explained.

The Central Valley man says when they first arrived Friday for their weekend stay, a park staff employee told him the storm expected to hit.

"She mentioned there was a big storm coming, and it might be a big one and we could be evacuated," he said. "That was a possibility, she did not know that for a fact at all."

The man who escaped danger feels for the victim's family.

"I love everyone on this planet," he said. "And I feel horrible when things like this happen."

Officials did say that roads leading to Half Dome and Upper Pines have been closed off until 12:00 p.m. Monday because of tree fall danger due to high winds and snow.

The identity of the woman has not been released.


Pinus ponderosa, commonly known as the ponderosa pine,[1] bull pine, blackjack pine,[2] or western yellow-pine,[3] is a very large pine tree species of variable habitat native to the western United States and Canada. It is the most widely distributed pine species in North America.[4]:4
It grows in various erect forms from British Columbia southward and eastward through 16 western U.S. states and has been successfully introduced in temperate regions of Europe. It was first documented into modern science in 1826 in eastern Washington near present-day Spokane (of which it is the official city tree). On that occasion, David Douglas misidentified it as Pinus resinosa (red pine). In 1829, Douglas concluded that he had a new pine among his specimens and coined the name Pinus ponderosa[5] for its heavy wood. In 1836, it was formally named and described by Charles Lawson, a Scottish nurseryman.[6] It is the official state tree of Montana.[7]