A mother and toddler were critically injured Sunday afternoon when a pine tree fell on them in Cascade Park.
New Castle police chief Bobby Salem and city assistant fire chief Tom Bulisco said the tree segment, nearly 30 feet long, broke off because of high winds and struck 35-year-old Diane Palumbo and her 2-year-old daughter, pushing them into the nearby water of Big Run Creek, around 3:30 p.m.
Anastasia was flown to St. Elizabeth's Youngstown Hospital with multiple injuries, and her daughter, Anastasia Palumbo, 2, was flown to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.
According to Bulisco, the family of four were walking and had stopped to sit down and rest in a picnic area when the wind snapped off the segment of the 40-foot-tall tree. The father, Anthony Palumbo, pulled the child out of the water and his wife was rescued by the firefighters.
Bulisco said the woman was in the water up to her waist when rescuers arrived.
"The water was pretty deep," he said.
The firemen and McGonigle ambulance personnel performed first aid and removed the mother and child from the park. Another toddler who was with them was unharmed, Salem said.
He said the park was cleared out and closed after that because of the high winds.
Bulisco said the tree "was one of those giant things. It was a freak accident."
He described the mother's injuries as "crushing." The child sustained mostly head injuries, he said.
Salem said the family lives on a road near the park.