A Manhattan mother, Anne Goldman, was having her usual stroll through New York's Central Park recently when out of nowhere a giant tree came tumbling down on her and her children.A relative said the mother of 3 suffered a broken neck, while her toddler suffered a fractured skull. What was not immediately apparent, but after hearing recollections of onlookers, had it not been for the heroic reaction of the mom, all 3 of them could have easily been killed in the tragic accident.
The 39 year old mother was walking with her infant strapped to her chest and his toddler brother in a stroller when the giant tree came toppling down in the late morning. A witness to the incident described the piercing sound of the tree falling, a feeling of disorder wondering what just happened, then finally coming to the realization that people were hit by the mere sound of a baby's cry.
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Passersby said that the lady seemed to instinctively protect her children as the tree came down. The mother's head was struck as she tried to shield the boys from the heavy branches.
A local NYC resident said he “heard limbs being snapped over her,” as people fought to get her out from under the tree. “New Yorkers are great, man,” he applauded.
A group of mounted police in the proximity heard the cracking sound of the tree and saw it fall, and then saw people running toward the scene. They quickly followed
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"It was giant, it was across all of them, we were able to pull the branches back and get the 3- and 4-year-old out pretty easily, but then the baby was strapped to her so that took a little bit," Jack Jones, a nurse who witnessed the tree fall, told reporters. "They had the stroller tipped up against her so I think that kind of saved them."
Goldman and her children were taken by ambulance to New York-Presbyterian Hospital where doctors diagnosed her with a fractured neck and her son with a fractured skull. A team of doctors at the hospital will be performing additional tests to understand the severity of their injuries, but admit that things could have been much, much worse had it not been for the protective actions of the mother.
Two of the children were released later that same day.
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Through all of this, Goldman is still only concerned with the well-being of her children, and reportedly never asks about her own condition. This is not surprising as Goldman is a devout mom and loves here kids like none other. This can be seen on her Facebook page where practically all of the photos and posts are of her children.
The tree in question is said to be over 75 feet tall with a trunk about 3 feet in diameter. Over 100,000 people per day utilize Central Park on any given day and there are over 26,000 trees in the park. Ms. Goldman is said to have been knocked unconscious after being struck, and when she came to she immediately asked about the status of her children.
There has been some speculation and conjecture over whether this was a preventable incident as observers note the large tree's roots were noticeably shallow. The incident will be investigated as to whether or not this was preventable.
Police accounts state that this particular accident struck home with them in the emotional sense as they themselves also have families and this could have happened to any one of them.
To add to the wonderment of this story, several witnesses recount thongs of good Samaritans rushing to the aid of the trapped family. The sound of children in distress reached far and wide and the crowded park, full of New Yorkers, well, it did what New Yorkers do, help each other.
It is unclear exactly what caused the large elm tree to fall. The winds were only blowing between 0 and 3 miles per hour at the time of the incident, according to the National Weather Service.
In a rather untimely act of finger pointing, the city Parks Department noted that the tree was supposed to be maintained by the Central Park Conservancy, which did not reply to journalists requests for comment.