Who is to blame for the accident in Vigo?

The City Hall and port authority have both refused to take responsibility for the collapse of a seafront boardwalk that left hundreds injured

Scene the day after a seaside boardwalk collapsed during a nighttime concert in Vigo.
Scene the day after a seaside boardwalk collapsed during a nighttime concert in Vigo.Oscar Vifer / GTRES

After midnight on Sunday, just as hip-hop singer Rels B was about to perform at the O Marisquiño festival, a seafront promenade in Vigo gave way and hundreds of spectators fell into the water. Chaotic scenes followed and, at last count, 250 people were injured, five seriously. When asked for an explanation of what happened, the port authority and Vigo City Hall began pointing fingers. No one has accepted responsibility.

The complaints about the poor state of the wooden platform and the corrosion of the structure were well known. The accident was caused by the concrete pilings that supported the boardwalk collapsing into the sea.

Vigo City Hall, governed by the Socialist Party (PSOE), is responsible for the maintenance of the structure under an agreement signed with the ports in the 1990s when the promenade was built. But City Hall has blamed the accident on structural problems. In other words, its responsibility was to maintain the wooden promenade, but not the concrete pilings, which are the responsibility of the port authority. Meanwhile, the organizers of the O Marisquiño festival, responsible for supervising the event, have stated that they had all their papers in order. The concert was one of two events approved by the port authority, together with a gastronomy festival. The authority did, however, reject an urban sports event called Vigo Street Stunts.

Fortunately, the collapse of the promenade did not cause any fatalities. What cannot be undone is the shameful row over who is at fault. Do the local authorities really want injured teens to not only have to turn to doctors to have their wounds treated, but also to investigators, who will decide which of the authorities was apathetic enough to endanger the lives of hundreds of young people? The explanation offered thus far is offensive.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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