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Child's death inquiry cites human error in 911 response

A probe into the 911 system on the day an SUV fatally struck 4-year-old Ariel Russo says human error and not technical problems delayed the response time, a city report said Thursday.

Russo was killed June 4 when a driver lost control and hit the child and her grandmother at West 97th Street and Amsterdam Avenue at 8:15 a.m.

The Department of Investigation report said Edna Pringle, a dispatcher at the FDNY's EMS dispatch system, never saw the Russo call.

A relief dispatcher filling in for Pringle, who was on break, responded to the incident and relayed the message. The first ambulance arrived about 8:24 a.m., and Russo died on her way to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center. Her grandmother arrived in stable condition.

"There appear to have been no outages or other relevant technical problems with the city's 911 system" at the time of the crash, the report from DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said.

A spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Kamran Mumtaz, called Russo's death a "terrible tragedy" and praised the city's overhaul of the 911 system.

"The new system is extremely reliable and effective, and provides greater functionality to the men and women who handle 30,000 911 calls every day," he said.

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