Man killed by falling tree branch

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- A man in his 70s was killed by a branch that fell from a eucalyptus tree in Carlsbad Thursday as high winds lashed the region, a city official said.

“I heard the giant cracking…crack crack crack I said look out and he turned like this he took two steps and a giant branch just hit him and slammed him to the ground," said Justin Evans who saw the freak accident.

The man was getting out of his car around 10:30 a.m. at Holiday Park when he was struck by an 8-inch-diameter branch, city spokeswoman Kristina Ray said. The park, at Chestnut Avenue and Pio Pico, is the one visible to drivers just east of Interstate 5.

According to Ray, a witness called 911 and responding firefighters tried lifesaving measures, but the man was pronounced dead around 15 minutes later. His name was withheld pending notification of his family.

Evans told FOX 5 the man had just pulled up, got out of his car and sneezed. He no sooner said bless you when the branch fell on him.

“I said God bless you and the last words he heard were god bless you and look out," said Evans.

The city said an arborist was sent to the park to evaluate for safety. The city has 19,000 trees throughout Carlsbad that they prune year-round and this particular tree had been trimmed prior to the tragedy. The tree also didn't have any disease that would have caused it to be more susceptible to broken branches.

Firefighters are reminding the public to be aware during high winds.

"Whether a storm off the ocean or Santa Ana wind events like today, when we have  50-60 miles per hour wind speeds we all need to pay attentions to our surroundings," said Fire Chief Mike Davis with the City of Carlsbad.

The mans next of kin is being notified before his name is released.