Court rules on terrible caving tragedy

"A judge has called for everyone to reflect on the terrible tragedy in 2007 which claimed the lives of six young hikers in a Tenerife caving accident.

He says measures must be taken to ensure the heart-breaking events on the evening of February 10 never happen again.
And although he says there can be no blame on the rescue workers who managed to save others, he has left the door open for families to consider civil action against the other authorities, including the organisers of the expedition and the owners of the gallery at Los Silos.
The six who died were in a party of 29 hikers exploring the caves at Barranco de los Cochinillos.
A judicial writ issued at the courts at Icod de Vinos said the rescuers did not have criminal responsibility and ruled out action against them.
The majority of the party got out but eight were rescued and were taken to hospital. Six others were later found dead inside the gallery. Five were Spanish, the youngest aged 22, and the sixth was an Italian student.
The rescuers were praised by the court for risking their own lives and the likelihood of passing out in the caves because of the lack of oxygen.
However, the office of the public prosecutor said it was very clear that protocol for rescues of this kind did not exist and that they were not equipped with the essentials. They lacked the proper equipment, including oxygen, gas detectors and air cylinders, as well as adequate communication.
At the time of the incident, the court heard, a spokesman for the hikers had criticised “deficiencies” in the rescue equipment and the time it took for the rescuers to arrive inside the caving gallery.
The first distress signal had apparently been made by one of the hikers at 4.40pm but the first rescuers did not arrive at the very difficult cave access to 6.45pm and did not get to the actual gallery in which the victims had died until 8pm. A pathologist had given the cause of death as lack of oxygen, not toxic gas, as first thought. He also indicated that they had died some time between 6pm and 8pm.
The court heard that the rescuers had already been told that the six people were dead but the judge said some sort of procedures should have been in place which could have determined the possibility of survivors and also the risk to the rescuers. The death toll, he said, could have been even higher because of the risks to the rescue team.
It is understood that some relatives of the deceased are considering challenging the judicial review rulings."

Font: Tenerife News

1 comment:

Octavio said...


They were hikers who chose the wrong artificial tunnel to cross a mountain.
Such an accident wouldn't happen in a natural lava tube, because there are no dangerous gases in there.