Angel Dotel sustained critical injuries after falling from a mango tree in West Park, Florida on Tuesday, news sources report. Dotel, 10, was impaled on a spiked fence located under the tree. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he remained in intensive care; doctors say he is expected to survive. The mango tree has since been removed as a precaution. It is not yet known whether Dotel’s parents will file for damages.
The incident occurred around 4:00 Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Southwest 18th Street and Southwest 44th Avenue in West Park. According to reports, the mango tree was located over a spiked fence in an empty lot. It is not clear whether the fence was protecting the lot or an adjacent property. So far, the lots owner has not publicly commented on the incident. However, neighbor Dwayne Parrish implied the tree and spiked fence were just an accident waiting to happen. “Mangoes attract the kids,” Parish said. “The whole of South Florida loves mangoes. They’re on spring break, what, a couple of days? And look what happened.”
Parish was near the tree when the accident occurred. Reports say Dotel had climbed the tree to pick some mangos when he slipped and fell. His body landed on the spiked fence below, which impaled him in several locations. Parish heard Dotel’s screams and hurried to the scene. “[Dotel] was bleeding like a water faucet,” Parish said. “When we called 911 he was crying, then he went limp and stopped talking. He was in shock.”
Paramedics rushed Dotel to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. Doctors placed him in the clinic’s intensive care unit and gave him numerous stiches. “He sustained penetrating chest and abdominal wall trauma and multiple lacerations to his face,” a doctor said. “There was no spike inside. Probably multiple spikes did this, I would suspect.” The doctor said Dotel is already on the path to recovery. “He’s shown marked improvement overnight,” the doctor told reporters, adding, “If you look at the mechanism of the injury, he’s very lucky. Certainly this could have been a fatal injury.”
Following the accident, Parish called All About Trees, a tree removal and trimming service, to cut down the neighbor’s mango tree. “What I’m doing is rectifying a problem,” Parrish said. It is unclear whether the tree’s owner consented to having the tree removed. “I’m telling you, God was with that kid,” Parish said to reporters. “Imagine if [a spike] hit his throat, or if we weren’t here. He could have bled to death.”
All About Trees removed the tree on Wednesday. An employee with the tree removal service spoke with reporters on the scene, saying, “I used to get mangoes from it as a kid. In 30 minutes, we’re going to avert another tragedy.”
Parish expressed relief once the tree was gone, knowing no other children would suffer the same fate as Dotel while climbing the precarious limbs of the mango tree. “Mangoes make kids do things they wouldn’t normally do,” Parish told journalists.