British couple killed watching television in Spain

LAST UPDATED: 16 Nov, 2010 @ 23:39
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British couple killed watching television in Spain

A BRITISH couple has been killed in a freak accident caused by Andalucia’s record rainfall.

Christopher, 64, and Christine Martin, 63, were watching TV when the Granada farmhouse roof suddenly collapsed on them at 6:30pm.

The entire living room ceiling caved in, pouring tonnes of concrete and rubble onto the couple beneath in the village of Rubite.

It took emergency workers 30 minutes to remove the collapsed beams.

The couple – who moved to La Mamola ten years ago – was pronounced dead at the scene.

The record rainfall that has wreaked havoc on Southern Spain in recent weeks has been blamed for causing the catastrophic collapse at the Cortijo Abulagar farmhouse.

Owners and hosts, Douglas and Caroline Brown, escaped serious injury as they were cooking in the adjacent kitchen.

“The Guardia Civil arrived very quickly but the ambulance took much longer as it had to come from a nearby town.”

Caroline suffered multiple fractures caused by falling rubble and husband Douglas suffered a delayed nervous attack.

The Browns’ telephone and car keys were buried beneath the rubble, leaving them with no way of calling for help.

Mr Brown was forced to use the victims’ car in a desperate bid to seek help from villagers.

One villager said: “Mr Brown was absolutely desperate when he arrived here.”

Around 15 townspeople rushed to the scene but there was little they could do. One of them alerted emergency services from his mobile telephone.

He said: “The Guardia Civil arrived very quickly but the ambulance took much longer as it had to come from a nearby town.”

The village has now been declared an official disaster zone by mayor Arsenio Vazquez.

“This village is in a state of shock and will now be in an official state of mourning for three days,” said Vazquez.

Describing the Browns as “personal friends of mine” Vazquez added: “They are distraught, inconsolable about what happened.

“There are many British people living in this area, and the expatriate and Spanish communities are very close.”

British resident, Susana Earles, who has lived in the village for 16 years, blamed ten weeks of incessant rainfall on the tragic event.

“The roads are in a terrible state, plastic greenhouses have been ruined and a lot of walls in rural areas have collapsed,” she added.

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