Falling tree kills at least 12 people at religious festival on Portuguese island
At least 12 people were killed by a falling tree during a religious festival on the Portuguese island of Madeira, local media reported on Tuesday.
SIC television said 52 others were injured when the tree fell outside a church in a village in the hills overlooking Madeira's capital Funchal.
The accident happened during a major Roman Catholic festival marking the Assumption, or entry into heaven, of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.
The local festival is called the Celebration of Our Lady of the Mount, the Atlantic island's biggest yearly religious festival. It draws big crowds.
The initial death toll was 11, but it rose to 12 a few hours after the incident.
An amateur video posted on the website of local newspaper Jornal de Madeira showed the huge tree crashing down into the crowd of people, prompting many to run for their lives.
"It was terrible, it was so sudden," an eyewitness told SIC television, adding that the accident happened as worshippers prepared for the procession of Our Lady of the Mount.
Television showed fire and rescue services working to help victims and cut away the fallen tree.
Emergency services were not immediately available to comment but were expected to give details later in the day.