Horror on Portuguese holiday isle as falling tree kills 11 and injures 35 at religious festival

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Posted by The King Slayer 2018 years ago in News
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Eleven people are dead and dozens more are injured after a huge 200-year-old oak tree fell at a religious festival on the Portuguese island of Madeira. Authorities had apparently been warned three years ago that the tree posed a danger. The tragedy happened during a two-day Christian festival called the Festa da Senhora do Monte which brings in thousands of visitors from all over the world. Thirty-five people are said to have been injured in the tragedy - including a baby in a pram next to their mum - in addition to the 11 who were killed. At least one child was believed to be among the dead after the tree crushed revellers who were gathered outside a church on the hills of Monte, overlooking the capital Funchal. The oak tree was 200 years old, and authorities had been notified in 2014 that it could pose a danger to people and property, Madeira Island News reported. It was unclear what, if any, action was taken. Witnesses described scenes of panic as bystanders tried to rescue the victims and provide first aid before emergency services arrived. One witness told Portuguese TV station SIC: “It felt like gunshots at first. We just saw people trying to run away, jumping on top of others, and then the tree fell and I saw six people already lying motionless on the ground. "It was something that will mark me for the rest of my life. I only had time to run with all the panic. "Some people were hit by others. It was terrible.” The local, who was not named, added: “The procession was leaving the church and a lot of people were at the spot where the tree fell buying candles to follow the procession. “I would say hundreds of people were there.” Several people were taken to the island’s Nelio Mendonca Hospital with “fractures and head injuries". Four were said to be in serious condition. One local reporter said he had counted six bodies at the scene of the tragedy. The tree that came down at about 12pm local time on Tuesday is understood to be in an area where candles were being sold, meaning it was packed with people. They were waiting for a traditional procession which forms part of the festival. The procession was cancelled following the incident. Officials have launched an investigation.

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