As thousands of people took to light fires on the beaches of the Valencia community to mark the traditional midsummer festival of the fiesta de la Noche de San Juan, the night did not pass without tragedy, with at least one death and another seriously injured by fire.
A man believed to have been in his 60´s drowned in the sea of Valencia, at around 9pm on Monday night. The emergency coordination centre were alerted to the facts and sent emergency teams to the beach at Las Arenas. The medics attended but could do nothing other than confirm the death of the man. An autopsy will determine the cause of death. In view of the fact that this event was held at night, it is doubtful that lifeguards would be present on any beach in Spain.
Another partygoer on the Cádiz beach at La Línea de la Concepción decided to ignore advice and logic, pouring petrol over his bonfire, which he then stood on top of. It is believed that a spark from a firework or sparkler ignited the fuel, resulting in the pile of wood bursting into flames, throwing the ban onto the sand, where he too was engulfed in fire. He suffered burns to 29% of his body and was taken to hospital in a serious condition.
However, tragedy and injury were considered by many to be not without benefits, as in Alicante alone, the weeklong event has been calculated to have been worth 45 million euro in additional income to the hotels, bars and restaurants who welcomed the visitors. The Alicante provincial tourism department estimates that the 1.3 million people who came specifically for the event is partly due to the two weekends involved this year, and the increase in train passengers brought to the area. A campaign is being considered to keep the main event to a weekend, irrespective of the day that the night of the 23rd falls on.
Prior to the event, there had been discussions and threats of strikes by the emergency services over the amount of work involved, and, quite coincidentally, the main event fell the night before the Spanish government was to launch its summer campaign action plan on how they intend to deal with the risk of forest fires through the summer.
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44067/