A woman was taken to the hospital in serious condition after she was struck in the head by a heavy tree branch in Central Park Tuesday afternoon, authorities say.
The woman, a 59-year-old tourist from Terre Haute, Ind., was walking along a path in the park near 86th Street and Central Park West when the falling limb hit her in the head, according to the FDNY. She was taken to St. Luke's Hospital in serious condition.
The branch was around 3 inches in diameter, police said. It's not clear how high the branch was when it broke and fell, but witnesses said it fell without warning.
Jessica Wolman of Brooklyn said she saw the woman on a gurney wearing a neck brace after getting struck.
"She looked conscious, she was talking to her husband," she said. "I couldn't tell how badly hurt she was."
Wolman did not think weather appeared to be a factor.
In June 2010, a 6-month-old baby was killed and her mother was injured by a falling tree branch at the Central Park Zoo. Earlier that year, a man was also killed in the park by a branch that was heavy from snow. And in 2009, a branch struck and severely injured another person.
Park advocates noted the city last week settled a lawsuit for $11.5 million in a case where a falling limb from a poorly maintained tree permanently injured a man.
"If it's an act of God, it's an act of God," said Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates. "But if there is negligence, and the city isn't properly maintaining trees, it's a whole other issue."
In Tuesday's case, the Parks Department would only say the tree involved was a "live tree" and would not comment on inspections.