As of early Wednesday morning, the number of fatalities remains at 13, including a young child. Last night the Diario was reporting that 16 of the 52 injured were still being treated at the main Nélio Mendonça hospital in Funchal, where there will be a press conference at 9.00 this morning.
The Portuguese national press all feature the story with headlines such as “The Tree of Death,” and “Thirteen crushed in the garden of death”. The Diario leads with the headline “Cruel Monte”. All remark on the unfortunate timing of the tree collapsing as crowds waited for a procession celebrating Nossa Senhora do Monte to start. This was one of seven festivals being held on the island yesterday to mark the Feast of the Assumption, which is a public holiday in Madeira.
An eye-witness speaking on Radio 5 Live last night reported sounds resembling gunshots as the tree began to fall. She claimed that locals were “disgusted” with the authorities who had ignored warnings that the tree was a danger. It is not exactly clear whether it was actually dead, but it appears that part of it had already fallen in March of this year. There are also reports that other oak trees in the same area have fallen recently, whilst other eye-witnesses describe the fall of a banana tree precipitating the collapse of the oak. The local parish council and the city-wide authorities in Funchal appear to be holding each other responsible for the tragic accident.
After the news conference this morning held by the deputy director of the Regional Health Service of Madeira (SESARAM), Miguel Reis the figures above have been updated. 7 of the revised figure of 49 injured yesterday by the oak that fell in Largo da Fonte, Monte, are still hospitalized at Dr. Nélio Mendonça Hospital – five adults and two children. The dead are aged between 28 and 59, seven women and five men, plus the child mentioned above. Of the 16 wounded who were hospitalized last night, nine have been discharged.
Regarding foreign victims injured in the tragedy Miguel Reis said there were three, two of them serious (one French and one German). In addition one French citizen died at the scene and a Hungarian woman died in the hospital.