5 people hurt after tree falls in Bryant Park

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Saturday, September 5, 2015
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Josh Einiger reports from Bryant Park.

MIDTOWN, N.Y. (WABC) -- Five people were injured after a tree fell at Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan Friday afternoon.

It happened at about 4 p.m. along one of the tree-covered areas that run along the outside of the park, near 40th Street and Fifth Avenue.

There appeared to be dozens of people in the park at the time, as seen in photos posted to social media:

A witness told Eyewitness News that the tree broke in half, and that the break appears to be about 13 feet off the ground. He said it sounded like a large tree falling.

A person at the park posted a photo of where the tree snapped:

The witness said people were yelling and running in all directions.

"All you heard was the tree cracking little by little," one witness said.

"A tremendous, really loud crack," another witness said.

"No warning, can't get away. There was no stopping it," an eyewitness said.

"When it fell it was too late to yell or something," another person said.

NYPD officers with chainsaw cut up what was left of the tree and carried it away. The area where the tree fell is blocked off.

Two people were taken to Bellevue Hospital: a 23-year-old woman suffered a broken arm, and a 53-year-old man suffered back and neck injuries. Three other people were taken to Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center: a 26-year-old man suffered a right shoulder injury, a 26-year-old woman suffered an injury to her left foot, and a 33-year-old woman suffered injury to her hip and shoulder.

"It was terrible. It makes you think how unstable is this whole park?" an eyewitness said.

The Parks Department released a statement saying: "NYC Parks will take possession of the tree and conduct a full investigating to determine the cause of the tree's failing. Our thoughts are with the individuals injured in this unfortunate accident, and we wish them a speedy recovery."

The Bryant Park Corporation also released a statement Friday saying, "Today at approximately 4:00 PM a section of a London plane tree fell to the ground, injuring some park visitors. Fortunately, the injuries are not life-threatening and early reports indicate those injured will recover. Testing will take place to determine the cause of its failure.

"The Bryant Park Corporation maintains a vigilant tree-pruning and evaluation program throughout the year."

New Yorkers should report damaged and fallen trees through the tree service request system on the NYC Parks website or by calling 311 immediately. Keep safe and exercise caution around fallen trees until we can reach the site to secure the area.