Falling tree kills 13 and injures 49 at Madeira festival

Credit: EBU

A falling tree has killed 13 people and 49 injured others at a festival in Madeira.

A regional health official said 10 of the 12 died at the scene of the Nossa Senhora do Monte religious festival in the capital, Funchal.

They added that of injured, seven were seriously hurt.

The tree reportedly fell on a stall selling candles. Credit: EBU

Initial reports suggested the tree collapsed onto a stall selling candles, according to the Portugal Resident newspaper.

Witnesses reported the large tree had already been leaning and had been secured with a steel cable, they added.

Local media reported that the downed tree was more than 200 years old.

The remainder of the festival has been cancelled. Credit: EBU

Portugal's Prime Minister, António Costa tweeted that "I express my condolences for the victims of the accident in Madeira."

He added that his "thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims".

Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa also expressed his condolences for the victims, and said he will travel to the island.

In a statement posted on his website, Mr de Sousa wrote: "I will go to Funchal today [Tuesday] to learn more about what has happened, and, of course, to bring words of encouragement and comfort to those who have lost their loved ones."

Injured people lay on the ground as festival-goers tried to help them. Credit: EBU

The remainder of the island's biggest annual festivity has reportedly been cancelled.

The regional government of Madeira has declared three days of mourning for the victims.

Madeira is an autonomous Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean.