Two Spaniards from Pontecesures, a small town in the northwestern region of Galicia, are among the 253 people who were killed in the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, which also left more than 500 people injured.
Alberto Chaves Gómez, 31, and his girlfriend María González Vicente, 32, had traveled to the the country’s largest city, Colombo, for a vacation and were staying at the Kingsbury Hotel when it was hit by one of the multiple bombs that went off in the city. Alberto Chaves, who was born in Rianxo in A Coruña, had been working for Profand Vayalat in India, a subsidiary of the marine exports company Profand, which is headquartered in Vigo, and is dedicated to fishing and the processing of frozen food products. His girlfriend, María González, had traveled to Colombo last week to see him for a short break. She lived in Pontecesures, a town of 3,000 people where her family also resides. The 32-year-old worked in Padrón, a nearby area in A Coruña, at Vestuarios Mayper, a company that manufactures work uniforms.
The death of the couple was announced by the mayor of Pontecesures, Juan Manuel Vidal, who said he was dismayed by the “tragic news.” Spain’s Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed the “unfortunate death of two citizens with Spanish nationality” but did not provide more information.
Alberto Chaves Gómez and his girlfriend María González Vicente had been staying at the Kingsbury Hotel when it was attacked
Vidal said that the victims’ families were informed of the deaths by diplomatic sources on Monday, and helped to identify the bodies thanks to their tattoos.
The mayor called a last-minute City Hall assembly on Monday and declared three days of mourning. Local authorities have also offered to help the families of the two victims with the paperwork needed to repatriate the bodies.
The couple were killed in one of the six suicide bombings that hit Sri Lanka at around 8.45am local time on Easter Sunday. Three of the explosions targeted luxury hotels in Colombo, including the Kingsbury, where María González and Alberto Chaves were staying. The official death toll from the attacks also includes foreigners from Belgium, the United States, China, the United Kingdom and other countries.
English version by Melissa Kitson.