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Rec and Parks Manager Critically Injured by Falling Tree

A recreation and parks manager in San Francisco is in critical condition after being hit by a falling tree on Tuesday in the Bayview district, reports CBS San Francisco

The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) identified the victim as Robert Watkins, who the recreation and parks team called a longtime and dedicated member. 

According to San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge, Watkins was struck at 9:48 a.m. on Tuesday by a tree that crews were working on in Hilltop Park. Talmadge went on to describe the incident, saying Watkins “was running away from the tree and it got him from behind. It was the canopy that got him.” 

Workers helped remove Watkins from underneath the tree. When medical personnel arrived to the park, Watkins was conscious and breathing but had sustained a laceration to his head, said Talmadge. According to Peter Melton, a spokesman for Cal/OSHA, Watkins’ additional injuries included a broken ankle, torn ligaments, and a spinal injury that resulted in chips to one or more of his vertebrae. 

Cal/OSHA began an investigation into the accident, and citations or financial penalties could be issued if they find violations of workplace safety regulations.

Watkins had managed crews working with trees before. He said in a YouTube video created by user SF Park Rec that helping his staff with projects was what he liked most about his job. 

As of Thursday afternoon, Watkins remained in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital said a spokeswoman.  

RELATED: Biomass Projects Help Parks Departments Save Money, Environment

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