Incident happened at Madeira, one of Portugal’s island off northwestern Africa


MADEIRA – Thirteen people, including a small girl, was killed after a huge oak tree fell on them during a celebration of a Catholic festival in Madeira, Portugal, on Tuesday.

At least 49 others were hurt in the incident and seven of the, sustained serious injuries. Three foreigners were among those injured.

It was not known what caused the 200-year-old massive tree to fall on the crowd that gathered at the church of Our Lady of the Mountain in a village near Madeira’s main city of Funchal. The churchgoers were commemorating the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – a Catholic feast celebrated on the day when the Jesus Christ’s mother was taken to Heaven.

Regional Health Secretary Pedro Ramos said a little girl was among the fatalities and that seven people were in serious condition with three requiring surgery. Three foreigners – a French, German and Hungarian – were among those hurt.

A Funchal hospital spokesman said 16 of those injured remained in the hospital as of Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was expected to arrive in Madeira, according to Miguel Albuquerque, president of the regional government. Sousa told reporters he will “offer encouragement and comfort to those who have lost their loved ones.”

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, for his part, tweeted his condolences to the victims and their families. GAC/Expat Media


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