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Falling Branch Causes Personal Injuries Death to Baby in New York City Central Park – Duties and Responsibilties of Zoos and Other Public Attractions

By Steven Smith, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


A 6-month-old baby girl, identified as Gianna Ricciutti, was killed and her mother injured by a falling tree branch at New York’s Central Park Zoo. According to police, the mother was posing with her baby in front of the zoo’s sea lion exhibit while her husband was taking a picture of them when a tree branch fell and hit the two victims. The mother and infant were taken to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where the infant was pronounced dead and the mother in stable condition.

Surprisingly, this is not the first death of the year caused by falling tree branches in Central Park. In February, a 46-year-old man was killed when a branch heavy with snow broke from the tree and hit him. Also, in July 2009, a Google engineer was knocked unconscious after a rotted tree branch fell and hit him on the head. If you would like more information on this story please see Falling branch at New York’s Central Park Zoo kills infant.

The death of this child is a tragedy for her family and the community. Hopefully this recent death will prompt the zoo to take action and implement a new plan that requires zoo workers or other employees to care for and maintain the site in order to provide a safer environment for visitors.

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