Friday, 24 May 2024

Tourist dies after off-road buggy plunges 65ft off Spanish cliff

An Irish holidaymaker has died and her daughter has been seriously injured after plunging off rocks in Lanzarote in their hired off-road buggy. The pair fell around 65 feet after losing control of their vehicle during a tourist excursion. The older woman, aged 61 and confirmed as Irish by Spanish police, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other victim, who was travelling on a South African passport, was rushed to Doctor Jose Molina Orosa Hospital in the island capital Arrecife with injuries including head wounds.

She was believed to be in intensive care today although the hospital has not yet made any official comment.

Firefighters, police, Civil Protection workers and paramedics were among the emergency responders who raced to the area around 3.30pm yesterday afternoon.

A helicopter was also sent to the scene although fire crews were finally able to stretcher the survivor, who is understood to be aged in her mid-forties, to a waiting ambulance on foot.

The area where the tragedy occurred is between the whitewashed town of Teseguite and the village of Guatiza, and boasts unique volcanic rock formations which attract visitors from all over the world.

The island’s Civil Guard police force has been placed in charge of an ongoing investigation into the incident.

One local report said police were probing the possibility the buggy driver, thought to be the older of the two women, may have plunged into the abyss after losing control of her vehicle on a bend because she was going too fast.

But a spokesman for the Civil Guard in Lanzarote insisted: “It is too early at this stage to speculate on what could have caused the tragedy.

“The investigation is still at a very early stage.” A Civil Guard source added: “A 61-year-old Irish woman died in the tragedy and her daughter, who was travelling on a South African passport, was seriously injured and was taken to hospital.

“They were travelling on the buggy as part of an organised excursion.” A spokesman for a Canary Islands regional government-run emergency coordination centre confirmed: “We received the first call at two minutes before 3.30pm local time yesterday.

“The alert that came in said a buggy-type vehicle had careered off the road with two occupants inside and plunged over a steep drop.

“All the necessary emergency resources were activated immediately. Fire crews reached the spot where the vehicle had ended up and managed to rescue one of the occupants alive.

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“She was stabilised at the scene and taken to hospital after medical staff who evaluated her confirmed she had serious head injuries.

“She was admitted to Doctor Jose Molina Orosa Hospital in the island capital Lanzarote in a critical condition. A helicopter was mobilised but was not finally needed because the fire crews were able to get the injured woman to an ambulance on foot.”

One local report said the two women were flung out of their buggy and ended up around 30 feet from the vehicle.

The damaged buggy has been retrieved and is being analysed by forensic experts as part of the police investigation, although there is no suggestion at this stage a mechanical fault played any part in the tragedy.

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