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Pregnant woman killed by fallen Kissena Park tree

A parks official walks near the spot in Kissena Park where a tree toppled and killed a 30-year-old pregnant Queens resident Sunday evening. Photo by Joe Anuta
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A 30-year-old pregnant woman was killed when a falling tree crushed her in Kissena Park Sunday evening, police said.

Ying Yi Li was sitting on a bench near the park’s picturesque lake at about 6:25 p.m. when the truck toppled over from its perch on a hill behind her, police said. Emergency responders extricated Li, who according to numerous reports was six months pregnant, and rushed her to New York Hospital Queens, where she was pronounced dead, police said.

“Oh my god, I can’t believe that happened,” said neighbor Christina Leib when informed of the tragedy. “So was so nice. She was very quiet and kind.”

Li was married to Aleksandar Dikov, and lived in a Parsons Boulevard apartment with his parents, according to numerous neighbors.

“They were always together,” Leib said, adding that the happy couple went on vacation to China last year.

As of Monday the tree was still resting on the bench where Li was crushed.

Some parkgoers complained of dangerous trees and pointed out discolored bark or dead limbs.

But Carolyn Simon, who has been walking through the park each day for more than 30 years, said the city Parks Department has been trimming and cutting down problem trees, and that laymen should not rush to judgment.

“Unless you are a tree doctor, you can’t tell whether they are rotten or not,” she said.

But an arborist with the Kissena Park Civic Association had already warned the Parks Dept. about dangerous limbs in the greenspace before Sunday’s freak accident, according to member Joe Amoroso.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and nonprofit New York City Park Advocates called the event a preventable tragedy Monday.

The two parties demanded the mayor’s office suspend its Million Tree Program, which seeks to plant more greenery around the city. They suggested that the money for the program should instead be spent on maintaining existing foliage.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 12:19 pm, August 6, 2013
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