The tragic scene in 2007

Orihuela town hall has been ordered to pay 157,333 euro compensation for liability following the death of a swimmer at Cala Capitán, where there were no life guards present, nor the mandatory red flag, for an incident which dates back to 2007.

At the time, The Leader reported how two people had died whilst trying to rescue a girl who was in difficulty whilst trying to leave the water. The two people were identified at the time as being a 57 year old Spaniard, who had managed to swim back to shore before dying, and a 39 year old Dutch citizen, who was rescued from the water by the Cruz Roja.

At the time, statements revealed that five people had attempted to rescue the girl, all jumping onto the sea having realised the sever situation she was in, but due to the extremely strong currents, the conditions would prove to be fatal. The remaining three rescuers, including a 35 year old British citizen, all had to be treated by medics at the scene. Despite the tragic end to the rescue, the girl did survive and was immediately reunited with her parents.

Spokesperson for the government team, Antonia Moreno, made the announcement this week, in which she gave details of the judgment of the court of litigation in Elche, for the drowning which occurred on the 13th of July, 2007, at around 10:30 in the morning.

During the time, the municipality was managed by the government of the Partido Popular, under the former mayor, Mónica Lorente, who had taken office only a short time before hand, having taken over from her PP colleague, José Manuel Medina Cañizares.

Life guard services were provided on the beaches by the Cruz Roja, but they did not start their duties until 11:00 in the morning, half an hour after this tragedy occurred.

Although the contractual agreement did not contribute to the incident in any way, according to the ruling, posters displayed on the beaches claimed that life guard protection was provided, uninterrupted, between 10:00 and 20:00.

According to the information from the ruling, the sentence reflects the “malfunctioning provision of lifeguard services”, given that on the day in question there was no red flag, a sign indicative of danger, nor were there lifeguard services at the time of the incident, at about 10:30 am, having been accredited by the defendant that the service started from 11:00 hours.

The council is now considering whether to appeal the ruling, whereas the matter is also being referred to the municipal insurers.

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