Tree crashes down during festival in Portugal, killing 12

A tree that fell during a popular religious festival on the Portuguese island of Madeira killed at least 12 people, Portuguese authorities said Tuesday.

Regional health chief Pedro Ramos said 52 others were injured in the accident near the island capital of Funchal.

The tree fell while a large crowd was gathered as part of a traditional religious festival. The Nossa Senhora do Monte festival is Madeira's biggest annual festivity. Held Aug. 14-15, it draws large crowds to a church on Funchal's outskirts.

A body lies on the covered on the ground after a falling tree killed people near Funchal on the island of Madeira Portugal in this image taken from video Tuesday Aug.15, 2017.

A body lies on the covered on the ground after a falling tree killed people near Funchal on the island of Madeira Portugal in this image taken from video Tuesday Aug.15, 2017. (TVI via AP)

RTP public television showed images of emergency workers gathered under a group of tall trees on the Atlantic island. Ambulances were shown pulling away from the site while workers wielding chain saws cut away limbs from an enormous tree on the ground.

More televised images showed some people attending to the injured. Others appeared visibly shaken.

An ambulance attends the scene after a tree fell on a large crowd gathered as part of a traditional religious festival in the outskirts of Funchal, the capital of Madeira island, Portugal.

An ambulance attends the scene after a tree fell on a large crowd gathered as part of a traditional religious festival in the outskirts of Funchal, the capital of Madeira island, Portugal. (Catarina Nunes/Diario de Noticias da Madeira, via AP)

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

A fallen tree is seen at the scene where the tree fell on a a large crowd gathered as part of a traditional religious festival in the outskirts of Funchal, the capital of Madeira island, Portugal.

A fallen tree is seen at the scene where the tree fell on a a large crowd gathered as part of a traditional religious festival in the outskirts of Funchal, the capital of Madeira island, Portugal. (Catarina Nunes/Diario de Noticias da Madeira, via AP)

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa shared his condolences for the victims on his Twitter account.

"I express my condolences for the victims of the accident in Madeira," Costa said. "My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims."

Costa said that the central government has made contact with local authorities on the island to offer its support.

"The government has provided medical support given the high number of victims," he said.