Mother of Baby Killed by Tree Branch Remains Hospitalized

Mom in serious condition after freak accident

By Melissa Russo, Tom Llamas and Jillian Scharr
|  Monday, Jun 28, 2010  |  Updated 10:49 AM EDT
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Tragedy strikes as an infant is killed by a fallen tree branch in the Central Park Zoo.

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A New Jersey mother remains in serious condition today after being struck by a falling tree branch in Central Park that tragically killed her six-month-old baby, NYC officials and NYPD sources said.

  Mother Karla DelGallo, 33, is in stable condition with head trauma at New York Hospital. Her baby, Gianna Ricciutti, was pronounced dead at the same hospital.
 
The accident happened just before 2 p.m. Saturday while families were enjoying the crowded zoo on a hot summer day. As father Michael Ricciutti prepared to take a photo of his wife, who held their daughter in her arms, outside the sea lion exhibit in Central Park Zoo, witnesses describe hearing a snap, NYPD sources tell NBCNewYork.
 
Everyone screamed as the branch fell about 40 feet, striking both the mother and baby in the head before crashing to the ground and splitting in half, according to people at the scene.
 
The Union City, N.J., family was visiting the park with another couple who also had kids, NYPD sources said.
 
A city source tells NBCNewYork the tree was within jurisdiction of the zoo, which is maintained by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

This is the second victim of a tree branch at the park this year. In February, a man was killed in the park when a snow-covered branch snapped from a tree and slammed onto his head. Last July, another man was critically injured in a separate incident.
 

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