Thursday, July 30, 2009

Central Park horror leaves Google engineer Blair-Goldensohn in coma

UPDATE: The Google genius struck in the head by a massive Central Park tree branch is showing signs of improvement, relatives said Thursday.

A Google genius was in a coma Wednesday night after a rotting branch snapped off a tree in Central Park and smashed him in the head.

Sasha Blair-Goldensohn was walking to work through the park when a 100-pound limb came crashing from a massive pin oak tree near W. 63rd St.

The 33-year-old computer engineer and father of two was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center after the 8 a.m. accident and was in intensive care.

"I'm not worried about Sasha because he has IQ to spare," uncle Marty Goldensohn told the Daily News while keeping vigil at the hospital Wednesday night.

He said Blair-Goldensohn had been unconscious since the accident.

Doctors performed a procedure to relieve swelling and put him on a ventilator to help him breathe because his lung was damaged by the branch.

The family was hoping Blair-Goldensohn would "wake up" after the pressure on his brain subsided, the uncle said.

"He hasn't really woken up," the uncle said, although the family at first thought he had responded to his grandparents. "He's young and healthy, we're hopeful."

The victim's wife, Rebecca, declined comment. The couple, who live on the upper West Side, have two young children - Sophie, 2, and Theo, an infant.

His mother, journalist Gwenda Blair, was flying back to the city to be by her son's bedside. "We're a very close family," Goldensohn said.

Blair-Goldensohn grew up in the city, went to Hunter College High School and Amherst, and earned a Ph.D from Columbia University in 2007.

He works as a computer engineer in Google's Manhattan offices; he calls himself a "high seas pirate" on his company profile and describes his superpower as "snacking."

He was on his way to work, enjoying a summer stroll through the park, when the tree limb cracked.

"It was a pretty big branch of a tree," said Alan Gottdank, 70, a high school math teacher who saw the aftermath of the mishap.

After the accident, the Parks Department inspected trees in the area and found them to be in good shape - except for the corroded branch that fell.

"The limb was removed and found to be dead and rotted," the agency said in a statement.

Parkgoers were nonplussed by the random calamity.

"You take your chances no matter where you go in the park," said John May, 48, a computer analyst. "You can't live under a rock - everywhere in the park there is a tree!"


microsoft, or china?


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