At least 13 people lost their lives and 50 others were injured when a tree fell during a religious ceremony. The incident happened in Madeira, a popular destination for tourists.
The moment that parts of the tree came crashing down was caught on video through a Facebook Live stream. The area was crowded as many people were visiting for the festival and religious ceremony.
The incident happened in the town of Funchal and reports say the tree that fell was at least 200 years old. Reports also say that two children lost their lives and that some of the injured are people who were visiting for the festivities. The regional government of the island has announced that there will be three days of mourning.
The incident happened during one of the biggest festivals of the island. The area where the religious ceremony was taking place is surrounded by tall trees. According to the town’s official website, the tree fell at 11:00 local time.
Emergency services arrived to the scene shortly after the incident. Pictures of the area show parts of the tree on the floor. The injured were taken to nearby hospitals. News site Publico reported that the health secretary of the island confirmed that among the injured were people from Hungary, France and Germany.
One witness said he heard a great noise and that the tree was already falling when he looked. He added that people started to run but that those who couldn’t run stayed under the tree.
The area was crowded when the tree fell because it is close to where visitors arrive. Hundreds of Portuguese citizens visit the area for the festivities but hundreds more also come from other countries. According to several news sites, it was going to be the big return of the festival since last year’s event had to be cancelled due to forest fires in the area.