Navy veteran Sean Mace is suing a California national park for $5 million after his skull was crushed in a freak accident. A giant pine cone apparently fell out of a tree and hit him on the head, causing serious, life-altering injuries.
The incident occurred last October at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, where Mace was reading a book under a grove of coniferous Araucaria bidwillii trees. He had been waiting to watch a Blue Angels air show when a 16-pound pine cone dropped from a tree and smashed his skull, knocking him unconscious. Mace suffered severe swelling and a brain hemorrhage.
He was immediately rushed to San Francisco General Hospital, where he underwent two emergency surgeries to relieve the pressure on his brain. A part of his skull had to be removed during surgery, in order to save his life. He now suffers from permanent brain damage, memory loss, depression, and ‘a tremendous degree of anxiety’. He cannot get a job, while he still has to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. And he still has to get a third operation.