Manila, Philippines, Jan 17, 2015 / 04:55 am
A local woman was killed at an airport near Tacloban, Philippines where Pope Francis had just celebrated Mass for thousands of people amid strong winds and rain brought on by Tropical Storm Amang.
"The Pope has been informed about the death of our young friend" when he returned to the nunciature, said head of the Holy See Press office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, during a press briefing on Jan. 17 a few hours after the incident.
Fr. Lombardi added that the Holy Father requested additional information on the family so he could demonstrate his "participation in their suffering."
During the briefing, prayers were asked for the soul of the 27-year-old woman who died shortly after the Mass with Pope Francis when the scaffolding of a speaker near the altar fell on her.
Between 200-300,000 people braved harsh weather conditions to attend the open air Mass on Saturday morning with the Pope, who is there as part of his Jan. 12-19 tour of Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
Director of social communications for the Palo archdiocese, Fr. Amadeo Alvero, told reporters earlier in the day that the crowds of people had nothing to do with the incident, adding: "We are sorry that this had to happen."
Weather concerns forced Pope Francis to cut short his visit by four hours to Letye island, where Tacloban is the largest city.
The Pope was in Letye to meet personally with survivors of super typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines in 2013, and other disasters which have struck the region.