EUR 3m fine over boating tragedy

20th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

20 January 2004, GIRONA – A town council was ordered to pay a fine of EUR 3 million Tuesday for its part in the deaths of 21 French tourists in a boating tragedy.

20 January 2004

GIRONA – A town council was ordered to pay a fine of EUR 3 million Tuesday for its part in the deaths of 21 French tourists in a boating tragedy.

Twenty-one French people died when a pleasure craft sank shortly after leaving for a tour of a lake near the town of Banyoles, in north-east Spain, in 1998.

The cause of the accident was not clearly established, but local officials claimed the boat was carrying 141 people - almost twice as many as it was authorised to carry.

The owner and the captain of the Spanish tourist boat were later charged with manslaughter.

The investigating judge, Montserrat Bastit, later criticised the publication of a report by local authorities in north-eastern Spain which blamed the disaster on overcrowding and dangerous modifications to the engine of the boat.

The judge said the report did not amount to valid expert testimony.

The high court of Girona said Tuesday the town council of Banyoles had civil responsibility for the deaths because the accident happened in a lake in the town and it was responsible for safety checks.

But the council was cleared of the charge of 21 murders.

The owners of the boat were given a heavier jail term for their part in the tragedy.

The court in Girona said the ship’s captain, Bartolome Gayolá, and its owner, Simo Rodríguez, who were originally jailed for two-and-a-half years each, should serve three years apiece.

They were convicted of 21 murders under a charge of "serious imprudence".

They were also convicted of 22 crimes of causing physical injury through imprudence and nine offences of causing physical injury

A town councillor, Josep Alsina, who was condemned to 30 months in jail, had his sentence reduced to a fine of EUR 360. He had been convicted of an offence of slight imprudence in relation to the deaths.

However, Alsina had to pay EUR 260,000 compensation to three victims.

All the parties which were convicted of offences and the insurance company had to pay out sums to 115 families and associates of the victims.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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