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Woman dies after being struck by fallen tree branch at Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park

A 71-year-old woman has died in hospital after she was struck by the limb of a large tree at Trinity Bellwoods Park last week.

A longtime friend of Pari Nadimi told Global News she is shocked and saddened by the death of her friend who was put into a coma at St. Michael’s Hospital following the incident.

Totally shocked. I mean, you’re just trying to come to grips with this incredible tragedy,” said Madeleine Donahue. “Your immediate emotional reaction is how in the world could this happen?”

On July 25 at around 5:15 p.m., Nadimi was at Trinity Bellwoods Park when she was hit by a branch that broke off of a tree. She was rushed to hospital with very serious injuries.

Donahue said she went to see Nadimi in the intensive care unit and that doctors had said her condition was too grave to operate surgically on her.

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“To arrive in the room and to see her hooked up to life support … I couldn’t believe it,” Donahue said.

The City of Toronto told Global News shortly after the incident it was aware that someone was injured by the fallen tree branch at the park. The City said “out of an abundance of caution” staff would be performing visual assessments of trees located in high-use areas of Trinity Bellwoods Park.

This is not the first time a fallen tree branch has caused fatal injuries, and at the same park.

In June of 2016, a man in his 30s was shielding his wife from a falling tree branch when he was hit in the head and killed instantly. The couple, originally from France and living in Toronto on a work permit, were out at Trinity Bellwoods Park picnicking.

Click to play video: 'Questions raised over tree safety in Toronto after fallen tree in Trinty-Bellwoods park'

Questions raised over tree safety in Toronto after fallen tree in Trinty-Bellwoods park

A man who was at the park on July 25 said he was leaving the splash pad with his son when he heard screams and the tree snapping.

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“This is a City-maintained park, the most popular one in the city, and for this to happen twice it’s a little unacceptable,” said Trystan MacDonald.

An arborist with Heritage Tree Care, Joseph Gillingham, told Global News “sometimes, it’s a freak occurrence.”

“You can look at a tree and a branch and it would look fine, but it could maybe have a canker or a cavity on top on the tension side,” Gillingham continued. “Then the branch grows heavy. Then on that tension side, the wind gets the heavy branch and then it’ll fail.”

Meanwhile, Donahue said she is working with the family on Nadimi’s funeral arrangements and the obituary.

She said Nadimi was part of the local art community supporting up and coming artists as an owner of an art gallery in the Queen West neighbourhood.

“I will remember her as someone who was very warm, open, intellectually very curious, and mostly just someone who loved me and her friends,” Donahue said. “And I just have to come to acceptance that she’s no longer in my life.

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