NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — City parks experts said they know what caused an elm tree to topple onto a mother and her three sons in Central Park.

They’re blaming it on a rotting root system hidden under pavement.

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The mother remains hospitalized.

Doctors said Anne Goldman is hospitalized, fighting back from the fractured vertebrae and neck injuries that came with a snap and crack from above.

As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, the massive elm tree fell on her as she took her three young boys for a walk along one of the most heavily traveled sections of Central Park on West Drive near 62nd Street.

A crowd of good Samaritans pulled back branches to rescue the boys.

It took more effort to free Goldman who went down protecting her infant son strapped to her chest.

On Wednesday, some park visitors took photos of what was left of the tree behind barricades.

“There’s cars here, pedestrians, cyclists, carriages, people who walk. It’s definitely prudent to check it out,” one park visitor said.

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Central Park Conservancy is in charge of the trees and its crews will have to dig up the roots and truck, and then repave the area. Right now, there is no timetable for making that happen.

The Department of Parks and Recreation told CBS2 a certified arborist inspected every curbside tree along West Drive between Tavern on the Green and 61st Street, and found no risks.

That includes other trees closest to the one that fell — seemingly healthy with a lush green canopy, healthy looking bark, but with some call a cramped root system, that one expert compared to wedging a size 12 foot into a size 9 shoe.

Some are demanding more inspections, done more often.

“They should be checked and treated well,” Elena said.

City Council members may be moved enough by this to revive stalled bills aimed at better tracking of all tree fall cases with extra emphasis on prevention.


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