Monday 23 July 2018

Tree fall kills 13 at festival

A body is removed from the scene of the tragedy. Photo: ASPRESS via AP
A body is removed from the scene of the tragedy. Photo: ASPRESS via AP

Danny Boyle

At least 13 people have been killed by a falling tree during a religious festival on Madeira.

Another 50 people were also understood to have suffered crush injuries as they waited for a street procession to begin after a church service as part of the Festa da Senhora do Monte festival.

Local reports said the large tree came crashing down on the crowd outside a church on the hills of the village of Monte, overlooking the Portuguese island's capital of Funchal, about noon.

Two children are reported to be among the dead.

Reports suggest the tree that fell was an oak about 200 years old.

Some of the injured and the dead, which included foreign nationals, were taken to the island's Nelio Mendonca Hospital.

The tree that came down is understood to have been in an area where candles were being sold and was packed with people.

The traditional procession that forms part of the festival has been cancelled.

Nossa Senhora do Monte is the patron saint of Madeira, which is south-west of Portuguese mainland in the Atlantic Ocean.

The festival is described as the island's most important annual event.

Irish Independent

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