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Falling oak tree kills 13

LISBON (Xinhua) – Thirteen people are now confirmed dead and 49 others injured after a large tree collapsed on the Portuguese island of Madeira around midday Tuesday, local media reported.

The incident occurred in the Largo da Fonte square in the Monte neighborhood of Funchal, capital of the autonomous region of Madeira, as crowds assembled for the Our Lady of the Mount religious procession.

Ten people were killed instantly and a further three died in hospital. One child is confirmed to be among the dead and six of the injured are said to be in a serious condition.

Regional Secretary of Health, Pedro Ramos, has confirmed that five people of German, French, Dutch and Hungarian nationals are among those injured.

It is not yet known why the tree fell. President of the Regional Government, Miguel Albuquerque, refused to be drawn on speculation that the tree was in a poor state of repair or whether another tree fell three months ago.

Locals told the Portuguese Lusa News Agency that the tree, a 200-year-old oak, had been tied back with metal wire for the past two years, but not tied to anything, and that the trunk was hollow.

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