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Tourist In Critical Condition After Washington Square Park Tree Branch Falls On Her: Gothamist



A woman was injured by a falling tree branch in Washington Square Park on Monday night.

“The 55-year-old woman was walking with her son when the large branch fell on her just before 9 p.m…The woman, from Virginia, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital in critical but stable condition,” according to WABC 7.

The Parks Department inspected the tree on Tuesday morning, and a spokesperson said, “This morning’s preliminary inspection indicates that the tree”—a London Plane—”shows signs of having Massaria, a fungus, which may have caused the limb to fail. We will conduct further inspections of the tree, and surrounding trees, and will address accordingly.”

Massaria commonly affects London Plane trees. A tree consultant explains, “The disease always attacks the upper side of the branch and is difficult to spot from the ground for this reason. In the early stages a long pink brown strip can be seen, followed by brown and then a black strip with spores.” A major cause of massaria is drought stress.

The tree was most recently inspected in July 2017 and November 2015, and had been pruned in August 2017. According to the Parks Department data, 31 people were injured by falling trees or branches between 2011 and 2015. In 2017, a 3,000-pound, 75-foot elm tree fell in Central Park, fracturing the skull of a two-year-old boy and fracturing his mother’s neck (her two other sons, a baby strapped to her chest and a four-year-old were uninjured). The Central Park Conservancy maintains the trees in Central Park.

Update: The Parks Department says that 23 people have been injured from falling tree branches in city parks from 2016 through May 20, 2019. There have been 11 incidents in Manhattan, seven in Queens, three in Brooklyn, one in the Bronx and one on Staten Island.

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