Costa del Sol News - 28th August 2009

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

News Archive In association with

The Costa del Sol weekly newspaper, on sale at newsagents.

Lawsuit issued on first anniversary of Spanair crash

Two preliminary reports point to an instrument failure and safety check error

By Dave Jamieson

TODAY (Thursday) is the first anniversary of the crash of Spanair Flight 5022 which took the lives of 146 people at Madrid Barajas airport. Last week, families of 18 of the victims opened a US lawsuit against the aircraft's manufacturer and on Monday a report placed partial blame on pilot error.

The crash of the McDonnell Douglas MD-82 on August 20, 2008, was the first fatal crash in Spanair's 20-year history and Spain's worst aircraft accident for 25 years. It happened at 2.25pm as the flight with 164 passengers and crew on board was taking off for Gran Canaria. The plane rolled to the right and crashed close to the runway, breaking apart the fuselage which was quickly engulfed in flames. There were only 18 survivors, all of whom were seriously injured.

A preliminary report by the civil aviation authorities was published in October and stated the flight data recorder had showed that the aircraft's flaps had been set at zero degrees during take-off, and that the alarm which should have warned the captain of the danger had not sounded. A second, provisional report published on Monday makes seven recommendations to improve international air safety. It also places part of the blame for the crash on pilot error claiming the crew failed to carry out safety checks properly before take off.

On Friday of last week, the families of 18 of those who died in the accident filed a wrongful death lawsuit against McDonnell Douglas. In addition, the suit, which was posted in the US, lists Alenia Aeronautica, Boeing, Esterline Technologies, Hawker Siddley, Korean Air, Leach International Corporation, Pratt and Whitney, Rohr and the SAS Group as defendants. It seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

‘Angel' falls off a lorry

Málaga dog found in Somerset is being nursed back to health

By Dave Jamieson

It's not everyday that a dog falls off the back of a lorry, but that is just what is thought to have happened in the case of a Spanish dog found in the south-west of England.  Since Angel was found straying in Somerset, the local county council's Animal Health and Welfare Team have been working with local organisations to help get the dog back to full health.

Angel, a pedigree boxer, was handed in to the RSPCA after being found in a car park in Taunton.  She was found to have a microchip linking her to an address in Málaga, more than 1,300 miles (2,100 km) away from Somerset.  She was registered in Spain 10 years ago but attempts to contact her previous owner, named on the microchip as Diane Levy, have proved unsuccessful and it is suspected that the dog entered the UK illegally on the back of a lorry.

The county council has a duty to make sure any animals suspected of coming into Somerset in breach of current UK rabies laws are either placed in quarantine, deported or destroyed, but luckily for Angel, the South Western Boxer Club volunteered to take responsibility for her and support her six months in quarantine.

Club secretary Glenda Tibbots, said, "When she came to us she was very thin and had black patches on her side with no hair there.  She has had an operation to remove a big lump on her eye and is putting on weight.  She is an absolutely super dog and needs a one-to-one home, so at the end of the six months we will try to find a new home for her."

International design competition for Ronda bullring zone

Something old, something new for world famous Plaza de Toros

By David Eade

Officials have launched an international design competition to revamp the zone surrounding Ronda's famous and historic bulling.

The regional government's Culture and Heritage Department ruled some months ago that the car park that occupied the large plaza by the 200-year-old bullring should be removed. It insisted that Andalucía's third most visited site should be pedestrian-only and the town hall quickly complied, closing the car park at the beginning of August.

This has left Plaza Teniente Arce, which leads on to the Paseo de Blas Infante, looking rather forlorn, but not for long. The councillor for gardens, Josefa Valle, has launched an international contest for ideas on how the area can best be utilised - and Ronda historians have also come up with a suggestion.

The historians are concerned about the location of the main gate to the plaza de toros, which is currently on Calle Pedro Romero. This was not always so; from 1788 to 1923 it faced on o what is now Plaza Teniente Arce. The imposing main gate is very important to the bullring because apart from the Goyesca Ladies and bullfighters entering here during the Pedro Romero bullfights in September, it is also out of this gate that matadors who perform well are carried shoulder high in triumph.

It is easy to see from old photographs why the focal main gate was moved in 1923. At that time the old Teatro Vicente Espinal came within feet of the entrance, but now where the door once stood gives onto the centre of the open Plaza Teniente Arce. So the suggestion of the historians is that the celebrated main gate should be returned to its original position.