Tree falls during religious festival on island of Madeira, killing 13; video

A 200-year-old oak tree crashed down on dozens of people during an annual religious festival on the Portuguese island of Madeira on Tuesday, killing 13 and injuring 49.

The tragedy occurred during the island's biggest annual Roman Catholic festival, known as the Lady of the Mount Festival, held in the hills above Madeira's capital of Funchal, according to Reuters.

Video of the tragedy was captured from a live feed aimed at a crowded Fountain Square where worshippers were waiting to buy candles outside the church for a procession that was to begin after mass:

Moments before tree falls in the crowded Fountain Square.

"It was terrible, it was so sudden," eyewitness Xavier Nunes told SIC television, according to Reuters.

The tree was said to be rotten and had been partly supported by a metal cable for at least two years.

"I heard a great noise and when I looked at the tree it was already falling but was too fast and people started to run and those who couldn't run stayed under the tree," an eyewitness told the BBC.

"It was something we will never forget," another told the BBC. "It sounded like shots and it just gave us time to look and run away when we realized there were people under the tree."

The victims included two children and foreign nationals from Germany, Hungary and France.

The Daily Mail reported that several people were taken to Nelio Mendonca Hospital with fractures and head injuries.

“My thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims and my solidarity is with the citizens of Madeira,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa said, according to Reuters.

Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was reportedly traveling to the island to comfort victims.