Two-year-old in miraculous escape after 100-year-old tree suddenly falls

Two-year-old Viateur Habumugisha in the midst of the tree debris at Kinihira Provincial Hospital shortly after the 100-year-old tree came crashing down with the little boy playing beneath it, on Monday. The photo, which was taken by a yet-to-be-identified eyewitness, has since been trending on social media platforms.

The family of a two-year-old child who narrowly escaped death Monday is still in awe after the toddler survived what would have been a traumatic family tragedy.

The child escaped death when an enormous sycamore tree, locally known as Umuvumu, that stood in the compound of Kinihira Provincial Hospital in Rulindo District suddenly fell.

The incident took place at around 11a.m. just after the little boy, Viateur Habumugisha, had strolled away from her mother to play around as they waited for a nurse at the hospital’s outpatient section.

“He had just escaped from me to play around and was seated under the tree when it suddenly came down,” said Mukamazimpaka, the mother, adding that her fourth child had left her side about a minute earlier before the frightening incident.

Mother relives traumatic moment

“I couldn’t believe my eyes, for a moment my mind went blank,” she said, recounting the moment the tree came crashing down on her helpless child.

“I thought that was the end of my son,” the mother told The New Times from her home in Rulindo yesterday.

Fortunately, the boy escaped unscathed from the collapsing tree – which is said to have been about 100 years old – with falling branches only encircling the unsuspecting boy.

“To everyone’s shock, my son appeared in the midst of the tree debris alive, he never sustained any injuries nor became traumatised from the incident. We thank God for his this miracle, it’s unbelievable.”

The relieved but still visibly shaken mother added, “As we speak, he is out playing with other children, I don’t even know if he is aware of what happened yesterday.”

In the aftermath of the event, a photo of an innocent, healthy looking toddler seated in the midst of the fallen tree’s branches went viral on social media platforms, with many finding it hard to believe that he was right under the giant tree when it came crashing down.

Hospital boss speaks out

Speaking to The New Times yesterday, the director-general of Kinihira Provincial Hospital, Dr Fulgence Nkikabahizi confirmed the incident stressing that the boy was indeed in good health.

He explained that although the tree was very old, the hospital had not tampered with it due to its commitment to nature conservation.

The tree, believed to have been planted in 1920s, stood in the hospital’s compound.

According to reliable sources, the tree had been planted by then Chief of Buberuka, Thomas Karyabwite, who once ruled the area in ancient Rwanda.

He had planted it at his home at the time before he constructed a ‘modern’ house nearby in 1932.

His second home still stands to date.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com