Thursday 22 February 2018

Baby among 13 people killed by falling tree on Madeira

The tree fell during a popular religious festival on the island of Madeira (AP)
The tree fell during a popular religious festival on the island of Madeira (AP)

A 12-month-old baby and two foreign women were among the 13 people killed when a huge oak tree crashed down on an outdoor religious festival in Portugal's Madeira Islands.

Miguel Reis, a local health official, says the foreigners killed in Tuesday's accident were a 42-year-old French woman and a 31-year-old Hungarian woman.

Madeira is a popular European holiday destination.

Mr Reis said seven people, including two children, remain in hospital of the 49 who were injured in the accident.

The children are a two-year-old French child and a Portuguese 14-year-old.

Mr Reis said officials hope to conclude post-mortem examinations on the accident victims by the end of the week.

Scores of people were gathered in a leafy square, listening to a Mass, when the tree on a slope above the square came crashing down as a choir sang.

Local people told Portuguese media they had told officials that the tree was a danger, but the Funchal city council said it had received no warnings.

The public prosecutor's office opened an investigation.

The dead included eight females and five males.

The regional government decreed three days of mourning, beginning on Wednesday.

Portuguese president Marecelo Rebelo de Sousa flew to Madeira to offer his condolences.

AP

Press Association

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