Photo: Bus crash in Spain
Monterrubio de la Serena Sports Hall in western Spain was filled to capacity with some 1,000 people attending the funeral of five young soccer players killed in a bus crash this week, while thousands more followed the funeral Mass from outside.
Merida Archbishop Santiago Garcia Aracil officiated the youths’ funeral, which was attended by Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz, the president of the regional parliament Fernando Manzano, and the president of the Royal Spanish Soccer Federation, Angel Maria Villar, as well as by representatives of many institutions and political parties.
After Mass, four of the youths were buried in Monterrubio de la Serena and the fifth in La Nava, a municipal district of Benquerencia de la Serena in Badajoz province.
Minutes before the funeral began, the mayor of Monterrubio, Antonio Blazquez, said that local residents are “destroyed” by the deaths of these youths, all between ages 12 and 15, and warned that “the worst is yet to come.”
At the funeral were numerous floral tributes including those sent by Spain’s royal family and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Since Friday, above all when the bodies were brought to the funeral chapel installed in the municipal sports hall at around 4:00 p.m., thousands of people came to accompany and try to console the family and friends of the boys, members of the CD Monterrubio indoor soccer club, who were on their way home from a match in the nearby town of Castuera.
Friday saw an endless pilgrimage of mourners to the sports hall, while a feeling of deep sorrow claimed the streets of this small municipality of some 2,000 inhabitants, for the streets were deserted and the bars, restaurants, stores, banks and other establishments were closed.
The accident occurred shortly before 9:30 p.m. Thursday when the driver of the team’s bus swerved to avoid hitting a backhoe that drove onto the road between the two towns, hit a curb and ended up in a ditch. The backhoe driver was taken into custody after testing positive for cocaine and cannibis.
Aside from the five fatalities, 13 others on the team, most of them minors, were injured and taken to two nearby hospitals but none are listed in serious condition, the regional government of Extremadura said.