NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A mother and her three young children were hurt when a tree came crashing down in Central Park Tuesday.
Central Park is known for its large and beautiful trees. But late Tuesday, there was only a broad stump left from one after it toppled over earlier in the day.
It appeared that the tree became partially uprooted before falling on the family.
The FDNY and NYPD responded to the scene inside the park on West Drive near 62nd Street around 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Once the tree started to fall, Anne Goldman – a 39-year-old mother of three — instinctually shielded her sons from danger, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported. Her two sons ages 4 and 3 were with her, and her youngest, 41 months old, was strapped to her chest, CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported.
Goldman was knocked unconscious and all of them were pinned under branches.
Good Samaritans rushed over and tried pulling them all out from under the branches until police and ambulances arrived.
“It started crackling and it just fell within seconds,” said good Samaritan Tammy Jones.
“The tree fell, she never saw it coming and it landed right on top of her and her kids,” said Tammy’s husband, Jack Jones. “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. They had the stroller tipped up against her so I think that kind of saved them.”
All four of the victims were taken to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. CBS2 was there as the oldest boy — Will Goldman, 4 — was carried into an ambulance along with his younger brother.
“I just kept telling him it was going to be OK, and I asked if he was OK and he said, ‘Yeah,’ and then he kept asking why there were fire trucks here,” Tammy Jones said.
NYPD Officer Joseph Tomeo described Anne Goldman’s injuries.
“She was lying on her back. The stroller was off a couple of feet in front of her — that was also twisted up in the branches. She wasn’t bleeding. Her eyes were open. She was breathing. She was moving her hands,” Tomeo said.
“When she came to, that’s the first thing she was asking,” Jack Jones said. “She didn’t know where she was, but wanted to know where her kids were at.”
All four of the victims were taken to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
“A little more emotional with children involved especially. A lot of us have our own children. I have a son the same age as the 2-year-old,” responding NYPD Officer Megan O’Leary told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “So it was definitely heartbreaking.”
CBS2’s Bauman spoke with the victim’s family in hospital with them. The said the middle son has a fractured skull, and the woman has vertebrae fractures, while the other two are unharmed.
The woman was listed in critical but stable condition. She was conscious when she left the scene in an ambulance, Diamond reported.
Goldman and her middle son remained hospitalized late Tuesday.
In the park, there was no warning about the fall. The weather did not seem to be a factor.
“There’s no crazy weather today,” said a woman who was jogging in the park. “It’s not windy. There’s no lighting or thunder. It was actually a pleasant morning this morning this morning.”
Late Tuesday, investigators were left to determine how it happened.
“The three things that investigators will be looking at are the 3 D’s – dead, dying, diseased,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates.
The Department of Parks and Recreation sent crews to inspect and remove the tree.