Tree management is being defended after falling branches hit six people at Perth’s Kings Park.
Two people were taken to hospital for monitoring after a lemon scented gum dropped limbs on Friday night as people watched an Australia Day fireworks show.
Their welfare was the primary concern of park staff, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority executive director Alan Barrett said.
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But he also used a statement on Saturday to highlight the steps the authority takes to reduce the chance of similar incidents.
“Incidents of this kind are rare in Kings Park and the overall risk to visitor safety is low,” he said.
“The (authority’s) tree management strategy balances the risks trees pose to public safety with their many benefits for our visitors and the environment.”
Management of all trees in parkland areas in Kings Park and Bold Park was informed through a process of monitoring and inspections by experienced arborists, the park authority said.
Trees were formally inspected yearly using an internationally recognised risk assessment framework, complimented by surveillance in high-traffic areas.
One of the people hit, Gino Cianfagna, told the ABC he heard “crackling” before two branches crashed down on him.
“One hit me across the back and another one hit me on the back of the head and pinned me face down,” he said.
“I had enough strength to push the branch off me and I stood up … there were all of these other people lying flat.”
An investigation into Friday’s incident is underway.
With a 400-hectare footprint from the edge of Perth’s CBD, Kings Park is one of the world’s largest inner city parks.
It serves as an important refuge for hundreds of native plant, bird and reptile species.