Dutch guide charged over Spanish hiking tragedy
10 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — Spanish authorities have officially informed the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry that the guide who led a mountain hike that resulted in the deaths of three Dutch nationals last week will be charged for her role in the tragedy.
The 39-year-old guide — identified in the Netherlands only as Sonja van Z. — is accused of causing the three deaths due to carelessness. But a ministry spokeswoman said the defendant is not being held in custody.
The charge, translated from Spanish through to Dutch and then English, is equivalent to a charge of culpable homicide. The woman faces a maximum four years jail if convicted.
The eight hikers who survived the tragedy and their guide were giving testimony on Monday to a judge in Orgiva, about 30km south-east of Granada. None of the hikers have lodged an official complaint against the guide.
Spanish media reported on Monday that the woman was not authorised to work as a guide in the region due to recent legislation from the government of the Andalusia region. But she did have experience in the Pyrenees in the north of Spain.
Meanwhile, the Dutch consulate has demanded that the investigation be rounded off as quickly as possible so that the tourists can return home.
The emergency team that Dutch motorists association ANWB set up to assist the victims believes they will be able to return home on Tuesday or Wednesday. But the bodies of the deceased victims have not yet been released by the judiciary, Dutch daily newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reported.
The 11 hikers departed with their Dutch guide in poor weather for a hike in the Spanish Sierra Nevada on 5 May. Despite warnings from local authorities advising against the trek, the group intended to climb the Mulhacén mountain.
Two women decided to turn back and return to their hotel, but the remainder of the group pressed on ahead. Three of the hikers were later found dead.
A fourth hiker was admitted to hospital suffering from hypothermia and slipped into a coma, but has since recovered consciousness.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + Spanish news