Baby Killed by Tree Branch in Central Park

by - June 28, 2010 at 1:51 am -

fallen+tree+central+parkA branch fell from a tree in the Central Park Zoo on Saturday afternoon and hit a 33-year-old woman holding her 6-month-old daughter. The baby was killed and her mother was critically injured.

The mother, Karla DelGallo, and her baby, Gianni Riccuitti, were posing in front of the sea lion exhibit at the zoo around 1:45 p.m. for a picture taken by Riccuitti’s father when a presumably healthy tree branch fell from about 30 feet above. DelGallo and the baby fell to the ground, the New York Times reported. They were taken to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital, where Riccuitti was pronounced dead. As of Sunday, DelGallo was in critical but stable condition. The family is from Union City, N.J.

It’s unclear who was responsible for maintaining the tree. The parks department initially told the Times that the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the zoo, was responsible, but wasn’t as certain on Sunday and the society apparently wouldn’t address the issue. This is the third time a falling branch has caused a serious injury in the park in the past year. Upper West Sider Sasha Blair-Goldensohn went into a coma last July after a branch hit him in the head around 63rd Street and West Side Drive. Elmaz Qyra died in February after being hit in the head by an Elm Tree branch on Literary Walk near 69th Street and the East Drive. Those two incidents have both resulted in lawsuits. Other falling branches have also caused less severe injuries.

(Thumbnail via NBC New York)

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