Terrace of collapsed Majorca bar was unlicensed, mayor says


Sofia Ferreira Santos,BBC News

EPA Collapsed buildingEPA

The Medusa Beach Club was a beachside restaurant in one of the busiest areas of the regional capital Palma de Majorca

The terrace of a Majorca restaurant which collapsed last Thursday, killing four people, did not have a licence to operate.

Palma de Majorca Mayor Jaime Martínez said on Tuesday that the first-floor terrace was unlicensed for any activity or use.

Four people died and 16 were injured in the incident at the Medusa Beach Club.

Police said the terrace caved in because of “excessive weight” being placed on it.

Mr Martínez said the property had failed a technical building inspection last year, according to local media.

“The basement had a licence to operate as a music bar, the ground floor had a restaurant licence but the first floor wasn’t licensed for any activity, nor was it authorised to use the terrace,” the mayor said.

The city’s fire department estimated that about 21 people were on the terrace when it collapsed.

Eder Garcia, the head of the fire department, said that the restaurant had set a larger table for a group of tourists that evening instead of spreading its tables across the terrace as usual, which they believe may have caused the collapse.

“There shouldn’t have been anyone up there,” he added.

The collapse happened at about 20:30 local time (18:30 GMT) on Thursday.

EPA Firefighters carrying a large bit of debrisEPA

Firefighters have removed large bits of rubble from the scene

Local media have reported that the terrace was partly renovated in 2013 without the appropriate permits from the city council.

Spanish newspaper El País said the owners of the premises were fined €4,500 (£3,830) for the violation in 2020.

The city council is now expecting to assess the resistance of building materials used for the terrace, based on tests of debris taken from the site.

Mr Martínez said preliminary investigations supported the police’s earlier statement that the terrace caved in because there were a large number of people on it at the time.

The mayor added that several reports, prepared by the city council, had been sent to the police and the prosecutor’s office. He added that the city council will take part in any future lawsuits over the collapse.

One firefighter described the scene on Thursday as “nightmarish”, according to local newspaper Ultima Hora.

He added that when his team arrived, people were crying and screaming as they stood around the rubble on the floor.

Eyewitnesses recalled hearing a loud noise, which sounded like an explosion, at the time of the incident.

The victims were a 23-year-old Spanish woman who worked at the bar, two German women aged 20 and 30, and a 44-year-old Senegalese man, reported to be Abdoulaye Diop, who made national headlines in 2017 for rescuing a man who was struggling in waters off the Majorca coast.

Only one of the 16 people injured is still in hospital, authorities said.

The Medusa Beach Club is one of dozens of bars, restaurants and hotels located just off Playa de Palma, a long beach stretching eastwards from the city of Palma, which cater to tourists who stay in the area.

Majorca is the largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean.

Last year, more than 17 million people visited the Islands.

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