Firefighters point to obesity as the main cause of the collapse of a leisure center in Palma | Spain

Firefighters point to obesity as the main cause of the collapse on Thursday evening of a building housing a restaurant and cocktail bar in Palma (Mallorca), and in which Four people lost their lives and sixteen others were injured.. The fatalities are a 23-year-old Spanish worker in the building; a resident of the area of ​​Senegalese descent, 44 years old; and two German tourists aged 20 and 30. Seven of the injured are in very serious condition. Palma's city council has declared three days of official mourning.

The location that collapsed is the Medusa Beach Club, located on the coast in the Playa de Palma area. It is a place considered the epicenter of the young German tourism on the Balearic Island numerous establishments and restaurants.

At 8 p.m. Thursday, the Medusa Beach Club was full of people eating or drinking inside. At that moment, the floor of the first floor – where there was a glazed terrace – gave way to the ground floor, which in turn could not withstand the impact and gave way to the basement, where the establishment had also installed tables for customers. “The terrace on the first floor collapsed, probably due to excess weight, and the impact of the fall, which was about three or four meters high, hit a sandstone vault that also collapsed,” he explained at midnight Department, Eder García . Most of the dead and injured are in the basement..

According to graphic testimonies collected by people who were in the area, a large part of pedestrians and customers from nearby establishments came to help the injured. Many tried to pull the victims from the rubble until emergency services arrived. The firefighters, officers from the local police of Palma and the national police tried for hours to locate possible victims using drones, until they ended the operation at dawn. The area is cordoned off to prevent access as it is a very busy transit point at this time of year. Customers from neighboring buildings were evacuated as a precaution.

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One of those killed in the collapse is Aboulaye Diop, 44 years old and of Senegalese descent, as confirmed by municipal sources. His friends explained last night that Diop had left the gym and gone to the establishment to have a drink before going to work at another leisure company in the area, as he usually did. The man, who arrived in Mallorca in 2006 and settled on the island, had a son and in 2017 he was decorated by the city council after jumping into the sea in Playa de Palma itself to save a swimmer who was drowning used to be.

According to her relatives, Diop was a friend of the 23-year-old Spanish girl who also died in the collapse. Throughout the night there were moments of fear among the relatives and friends of the victims, the vast majority of whom were foreign nationals.

Firefighters worked Thursday evening to rescue victims from the damaged building.
Firefighters worked Thursday evening to rescue victims from the damaged building. Cati Cladera (EFE)

On this Friday morning there was total consternation in Playa de Palma, especially among the neighbors who knew the place. “We live on this farm that is located here on the beach, I often come here to have a drink. We heard an excessive amount of sirens and when we looked outside we saw the address,” said Marga, a local resident, who explained that there was food and drink available, but it was not a nightclub. The woman pointed out that the establishment, renovated this year, had recently reopened and that the collapsed terrace was “new.” Another neighbor, Mari Carmen, confirmed that the collapsed terrace was no longer possible last year. “I have been working here for 44 years and this house was old, it was once a perfumery. The terrace was there, but it was not used before the renovation,” he says.

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