An enormous tembusu heritage tree toppled at the Singapore Botanic Gardens killing one person and injuring four other people, including children, on Saturday. The incident also forced authorities to cancel an event organised by the High Commission of Canada, which was scheduled to start at 5pm.
Eyewitnesses said that they heard a cracking noise around 4.25pm and immediately saw the tree tumbling down. The 270 years old tree crashed on an Indian woman, who was pinned to the ground with her face down. She later succumbed to her injuries. Her husband, a French national, and her two children were also injured in the accident. Following the accident, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was immediately alerted and the victims were rushed to the National University Hospital.
"The police confirm that the deceased was a 38-year-old female Indian national who was there with her family. Her husband, a 39-year-old French national and their two children both aged one... sustained injuries. A 26-year-old female Singaporean was also injured in the incident," said Singapore police in a statement.
Meanwhile, the National Parks Board (NParks) has ordered an investigation to find out what caused the tree to collapse and extended condolences to the victims' family. "We are investigating the cause of the tree fall. It was last inspected in September last year and was found to be healthy," the board said, according to Channel News Asia.
"Our priority now is to accord assistance to the families of the deceased and the injured," the statement added.
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam expressed deep regret and called the incident a "terrible accident". "Our deepest sympathies to the family of the person who was killed by the falling Tembusu tree at the Botanic Gardens this afternoon. Hope the four others injured will recover soon," Tharman posted on Facebook on Saturday.