Yesterday, a 6-month-old baby died after being struck by a falling branch near the sea lion exhibit at the Central Park Zoo. Baby Gianna Riccuitti died almost instantly while her mother Karla DelGallo, who was also struck and hospitalized, is now in stable condition. Witness Trung Tran said he heard a crack, and watched as the branch fell about 40 feet while DelGallo attempted to run away. He told the Daily News, "I heard someone say, 'Watch out!' I heard the branch cracking."

A nurse attempted to give the baby CPR immediately after the crash, but it was too late. Witness Phillip Rams said, "The father picked his baby up. He was carrying her. There was blood coming out of her ears...The baby wasn't alive." The family was in the city for the day from Union City, NJ, and father Mike Riccuitti was taking a photo of his wife and child when the branch fell.

The tree, estimated to be between 30 and 50 years old, appeared to be alive and healthy. Because it is within zoo limits it is maintained by the Wildlife Conservation Society, and they said in a statement that they offer the “sincerest condolences to the individuals involved in today’s accident."

This has been the second fatality caused by a falling branch in the park this year. The first happened in February near the corner of East Drive and 68th Street, where a man was struck by a branch falling from a reportedly healthy tree. Three people were also injured by a branch near the Boathouse last month.