It was supposed to be a fun day at a New York City playground for Aleim Perkins and his 6-year-old niece, Leela. But their together time ended in tragedy Monday afternoon when the 39-year-old pushed an empty tire swing and it came flying back at him, smashing into his face and killing him. The New York Post notes that the 25-pound tire swing at Tompkins Square Park isn't constructed of more giving rubber but of ethyl vinyl acetate (the material used on the bottom of soccer cleats). Witnesses say Perkins was pushing it "aggressively." And while he reportedly "crouched to get out of the way ... it was going too fast," a 12-year-old witness to the freak accident tells the Post. "It hit him on the left cheek. He just plopped down."
It was enough of a hit to leave Perkins sprawled on the ground, unconscious and bleeding from the mouth. "The guy got his fillings knocked out," Ori Carino, a 32-year-old local resident who tried to help Perkins, tells DNAInfo. Carino says a group of moms tried to console Perkins' extremely upset young niece. A nanny who was at the park says that before the accident, Perkins was pushing some older children on the swing "like crazy"; they ultimately got off, and he kept pushing it. Perkins was rushed to a nearby hospital and pronounced DOA. The Parks Department extended its sympathies to Perkins' family, the Post notes, but it wouldn't verify how many of these tire swings the park has or if they'd be removed. (A Washington state school district got rid of its playground's "hazardous" swings.)