Man dies after falling during Three Kings parade in Almería

Twenty-year-old dressed as Balthasar tumbles four meters after float collides with cable

Video: Emergency health workers attend to the young man after the accident (Spanish voiceover).Photo: atlas | Video: Diego París

A traditional January 5 Three Kings parade in Níjar, Almería, turned to tragedy on Monday when a 20-year-man dressed up as the king Balthasar died when he was knocked from his float by an overhanging phone line.

The incident occurred in the Campohermoso district as the procession was making its way through a neighborhood of low-level housing built in the 1970s. The float carrying Balthasar collided with the cable, which knocked off the ornamental top of his throne and sent the structure falling four meters to the ground, taking young Juan Antonio Lozano with it.

The parade was immediately suspended and Lozano was taken to hospital suffering from head injuries, but died there as a result of his wounds on Tuesday afternoon.

The family may want an investigation to determine who might responsible and that will of course be accepted” Níjar mayor Antonio Jesús Rodríguez

The night before Epiphany – when Spanish children traditionally receive their Christmas gifts – Three Kings parades take place in towns across Spain in which floats carrying locals dressed as the three Magi – Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthasar – journey through the streets while their assistants throw candy to the children in the crowds.

Níjar’s local council has declared three days of mourning as a result of the tragedy. “The family may want an investigation to determine who might be responsible and that will of course be accepted,” said Níjar Mayor Antonio Jesús Rodríguez. “But at this moment, and this is what they have asked me, they only want to give thanks for the expressions of sympathy they have received.

“The government has its civil responsibility insurance, but in these cases an external contract is made, and the company that organized the parade also has its insurance. If someone else is determined responsible, it could be related to the company responsible for the telephone line. The judicial police are already investigating the facts and the local police have cooperated,” he added.

A similar incident occurred in 2006 in the Seville town of San Juan de Aznalfarache

This is not the first time that a Three Kings parade has ended in tragedy in recent years. A similar incident occurred in 2006 in the Seville town of San Juan de Aznalfarache, when a 55-year-old man dressed as Gaspar ended up paralyzed when his throne fell from his float after hitting an overhead cable.

Another tragic incident took place in Málaga two years ago when a six-year-old child died after being run over by a float as he was trying to pick up candies from the ground.

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