Investigation launched after woman is killed by falling Christmas tree

A Christmas market in Oudenaarde, East Flanders, has been shut down after a woman died when a large Christmas tree was toppled by strong winds. The public prosecutor's office has opened an investigation.

The tree on the market square fell at around 19.00 on Thursday, killing a 63-year-old woman and injuring two other people. Previous problems with the stability of the tree are part of the investigation. The tree was planted by Oudenaarde's municipal services and had already been straightened at the end of November after it fell askew.

"Everyone is particularly affected by this serious incident," said mayor Marnic De Meulemeester. "Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victim. It is therefore more than logical that we will not reopen the Winter Village with its Christmas market and attractions. We have also cancelled all peripheral activities."


A technical expert appointed by the East Flanders public prosecutor's office is investigating the circumstances of the accident. "The cause of the incident will be further investigated. The Christmas tree has now been completely removed," said De Meulemeester. Flags on town buildings are flying at half-mast.



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