PETALING JAYA: On an evening with no rain or storm yesterday evening, the oldest tree in Singapore’s Botanical Gardens fell and killed one person among those gathered for a concert to mark Canada Day. Four others were injured.
Eyewitness Jonathan Ang, who was there for the concert, said he was sitting at the open area away from most of the trees at about 4.30pm.
“Suddenly we heard a cracking sound, like thunder,” he told Channel News Asia, which reported the accident.
He said a tree fell across a path “within five seconds”, bringing down another tree beside it.
“There were easily a hundred of us that rushed forward to help push the branches, the logs away,” he added. He guessed there were up to six people under the “huge” tree when it fell.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens’ website describes the giant Tembusu tree,about 40 metres tall, as more than 270 years old and the largest of its kind in the Gardens.
Singapore newspaper Today reported that a 38-year-old woman from India was the one killed. Her two children, both one-year-old, were injured, as well as her French husband, a 39-year-old.
“We are investigating the cause of the tree fall,” said Mr Kenneth Er, chief executive officer of NParks, which manages the gardens. The tree was last inspected in September and found to be healthy.
“As an SBG Heritage tree, it was inspected twice a year, which is of a higher frequency than other trees in the Gardens,” said Mr Er. “The tree was also protected by a lightning conductor and fenced off to prevent compaction of its root zone by visitors. Leaf litter is routinely applied to the root zone to encourage healthy root growth.”
Many people were gathered at the Singapore Botanic Gardens yesterday for the start of a concert and movie screening.