A man has died from injuries sustained by a falling tree branch early Wednesday, officials said.
Benjamin Mufti was in the 3200 block of Adams Mill Road NW, near the Smithsonian National Zoo, around 6:20 a.m. when he was hit by a falling tree branch, according to D.C. Fire officials.
“He was a great man...always happy. You've got to be heartbroken. He was my best friend,” said Monica Forker.
Friends of the victim tell ABC7 that Mufti was a trainer at the Sport and Health Club in Tenleytown and may have been on his way into work when the accident happened.
Mufti, a native of Utica, N.Y., was an avid triathlete, his friends say.
“It’s still not really real. I am still hoping to wake up from a really horrible dream,” said Colleen Crinion, a friend of Mufti.
“It's just so tragic how something so random can happen and someone's life is gone,” Polina Gregory said.
The 35-year-old Mufti lived on Adams Mill Road.
“This looked like a dead limb and it should have perhaps been taken care of sooner,” neighbor Bill Panici said.
Old trees line the neighborhood between the National Zoo and Rock Creek Park. Residents say the accident reinforced their worry about dying and diseased trees.
“Since the hurricane we've had a lot of branches come down and hit trees, it's pretty shocking,” said area resident Alix Plitsas.
Mufti's friends say he was training for an upcoming race.
“He's going to be missed by a lot of people and he affected a lot of people's lives in a really positive way,” Gregory said.