It could perfectly come straight from a scene from a Stephen King book, trees that attack people with their falling branches killing them in the act but fantasy, unfortunately, has come true in Madrid where two men already have died this last summer when they got hit by falling tree branches in the city.
The first victim, a man named Carlos Alvarez, was surprised last June 21st in the Retiro park where he was enjoying a nice summer afternoon playing with his two young daughters. The victim, who worked as a sergeant in the military and who had done several missions to Kosovo and Libya where he also was honoured for, was surprised by a fatal falling tree branch around 5 pm in the afternoon nearby calle Menéndez Pelayo nr 13.
The tree branch, that fell straight on top of him from around 10 metres height, was from an Acacia tree. The military called for help and two women who passed by called the ambulance but when the ambulance arrived Carlos was already in cardiac arrest and had suffered from severe pelvic and abdominal trauma. The medics still tried to resuscitate him during forty minutes but it was already too late and he had passed away.
The second victim got hit by a falling branch on the 8th of September last month. This accident happened around 21:45 pm in la calle Virgen de las Viñas, located in the south of Madrid in the Vallecas district. The seventy-two-year-old Spanish man who got hit, was just walking on the sidewalk when a branch fell straight on his head and on his chest falling from above. He suffered severe head and chest trauma which provoked cardiac arrest in the end and the ambulance team tried to resuscitate him during half an hour but unfortunately to no avail.
These accidents do not stand alone though and over the past months Madrid has seen around twenty or more trees falling down in the city. On the 20th of July an old cedar tree fell on a park bench, also nearby calle Menéndez Pelayo nr 63, injuring just slightly a little seven-year-old girl on the head, who only needed some stitches in the end. Another tree fell in the city centre of Madrid, in Calle Montera on the 6th of August, slightly injuring around four people while they were sitting on a terrace when all of the sudden they were surprised by the falling tree. Last August 2014 a huge tree fell down in calle Alvarez de Castro in the Chamberí area fortunately just damaging a car on its fall. There have been though around twenty other trees or so in Madrid that have fallen down now all of the sudden, sometimes damaging cars or disturbing traffic for hours.
The cause for the falling trees could be related to cutbacks in the budget for park maintenance but this is mainly claimed by opponent parties of Madrilenian mayor Ana Botella, (famous for her ´the relaxing cup of café con leche’) . She first did the cause off last summer as perhaps an environmental issue but in the end the she has sent a special tree committee to the Retiro park to do an investigation. This committee now has published a report on the 14th of October stating that there are around 814 possible doubtful or suspicious trees in the Retiro that need strict monitoring, but that the falling down of the trees has nothing to do with the overall maintenance done on the Retiro trees.
The last victim that died of a falling tree in Madrid was in the year 2000 when a little boy got hit by a tree that probably fell over caused by strong winds that day. The fact is that Madrid has not seen any other victims after that incident in 2000 so it is kind of strange that these killer trees are suddenly falling down now when mayor cutbacks are done everywhere due to the ongoing crisis in Spain.