Dutch told to assist in hiking drama inquiries
7 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — Two female survivors of the Spanish hiking tragedy in which three Dutch nationals died this week had their flight home to the Netherlands cancelled on Friday as local police launched a judicial investigation.
Six other Dutch nationals who survived the fatal hike in the Spanish Sierra Nevada were undergoing another medical examination and were also due to give statements to Spanish police. It is unclear when they will return home.
A seventh survivor is being treated at a local hospital for hypothermia. She has since recovered consciousness, having slipped into a coma after the accident.
The two women due to return home on Friday had decided against going on the hike due to bad weather warnings and instead returned to their hotel. They were to fly directly home from Granada on Friday.
But the duo — along with the other Dutch nationals — was later ordered to stay in Spain to assist in police inquiries. Spanish police are describing inquiries as a judicial investigation and have not yet confirmed a criminal inquiry.
Three Dutch pensioners died of hypothermia after getting lost in bad weather this week during the trip near Granada in Andalusia, southern Spain. Seven others were also missing, but later found after a search in the Parque de Sierra Nevada.
Dutch news agency ANP said the hiker who died on Wednesday as a result of hypothermia was a 53-year-old man from Roermond.
The two women who were found dead by rescuers on the side of the Mulhacén mountain were 56 and 69. They come from Grootebroek and Groot-Ammers respectively.
All surviving victims have received assistance from an emergency team set up by the Dutch motorists association ANWB. A psychiatric analyst has been called in to assist the survivors come to terms with the trauma.
The director of the organising travel bureau Intertrek, Piet Boorsma, has said he cannot yet comment on the cause of the tragedy, Dutch public news service NOS reported.
“Due to the poor connections with Spain, I have only been able to briefly speak with the travel leader and that conversation only focused on the direct assistance,” He said.
Intertrek said it had organised trips to Spain without any problem for almost 20 years and that it was “deeply shocked” by the three deaths. It offered its sympathy to the victims and their families.
The survivors of the hiking drama spent the night in a hotel in Granada on Thursday and assistance workers said they were very shaken by the tragedy.
The Dutch consulate has offered assistance to Spanish authorities to ensure the judicial inquiry is completed as quickly as possible. It is hoped that the Dutch national can return home to the Netherlands on Monday.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + Spanish news