Aftermath Of Los Gigantes Tragedy

November 2, 2009


Following yesterday’s tragic events on Los Gigantes beach, when two people lost their lives, the inquest will undoubtedly begin and the finger-pointing has already begun.

But today at noon, at a special plenary session of the Santiago del Teide council, Mayor Gorrín will declare three days of mourning for the two dead women, who, it seems, just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In an interview yesterday, as the full extent of the tragedy became clear, Gorrín expressed his sadness and regret at the “terrible and unexpected events” of the day.

Mayor Gorrín said that there was a project in place, under the direction of the Department of Coasts, to stabilise this particular area of the cliff.

He said that the affected area had been cordoned off with cones and tape as a precaution following a similar, though much smaller rock fall just weeks ago.

Nevertheless, the owner of the beachside restaurant criticised the council for failing to do enough to prevent people from accessing the danger zone, while another local trader said that local people had been warning of the danger for some time.

Meanwhile, the beach will remain closed to the public until further notice, while digging equipment continues to clear the devastation left by the massive rock slide.

Ed. Note:

Undoubtedly the arguments and repercussions of this tragic event will go on for some time, with people, rightly or wrongly, apportioning blame.

Some will attempt, callously, to make political capital from the tragedy while others will no doubt be working hard on damage limitation.

Some reports yesterday appeared to suggest that mayor Gorrín’s first reaction to the news was not to offer condolences to the bereaved but to lay the blame on those who suffered, for being in a restricted zone.

That view can, perhaps surprisingly, be found in comment after comment from the public in the Canarian media.

The official view is that the danger area was clearly marked with bollards and police-style striped tape and that those who died ignored that warning.

But yesterday’s rock fall covered an area of 75 square metres to a depth of up to five metres in places.

Is anyone seriously suggesting that the whole of the affected area was within the cordoned-off danger zone?

No, this was a tragedy on a scale that, perhaps, no one could have predicted. But that is not to say that a rock fall in that area of the beach was not predictable, especially given that a similar incident took place just weeks ago.

Perhaps, in hindsight, that was the time to close the beach, until engineers had time to stabilise the rock face and declare it safe.

One Response to Aftermath Of Los Gigantes Tragedy

  1. David Cripps
    November 2, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    We stayed just round the corner in Gigantes this week and saw and heard the sirens and helicopters on Sunday afternoon. There was clearly a major incident. We had visited the beach briefly the previous day and saw a tiny area of the beach taped off. Any fall could not possibly have been contained in that area. Sadly, the much mocked health and safety awareness in UK is rarely shared abroad where H&S is regarded far more casually. Although we love the island and Los Gigantes in particular, we often see things that would not be allowed here. Our thoughts are with the bereaved families – so sad.