A SPANISH man has died after sustaining serious injuries during a collision with a patrol boat off the eastern coast of Gibraltar.
The Royal Gibraltar Police have named the victim to be Alfredo Morodo Gutiérrez, 42, of La Linea de La Concepcion.
It has been revealed a customs officer tried to rescue the man who was probably knocked off the fast launch.
HM Customs reported that the incident took place at around midnight last night, off Eastern beach.
A full investigation as to the circumstances of the death is underway, according to the Government of Gibraltar.
“The exact circumstances surrounding this tragic incident are still unclear but I have sent my deepest condolences to the family involved and to the Mayor of La Linea,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
He confirmed that the Coroner’s Office would now be examining the exact cause of death.
“We will obviously be providing as much information as we can and operating closely with Spanish law enforcement agencies to ensure the family of the deceased have as much information as possible on the circumstances of this tragic event,” added Picardo.
It is thought the deceased man was riding on a boat used for tobacco smuggling in quite calm waters.
More than 100 people gathered in the border town of La Linea in response to the incident and hurled objects at security forces.
A video posted by the Union of Customs Officers in the Campo de Gibraltar shows a disturbance in La Linea.
It calls on the leaders of some of Spain’s main political parties to do more to combat tobacco smuggling.
The incident has led to a backlash on social media too, with the neighbouring town expressing its frustration at Gibraltar.
It got so bad that the RGP intervened and warned locals not to increase tensions by staying away from the ‘certain areas’.
“We wish to reassure the public that we are monitoring the situation and have been in contact with our Spanish counterparts since the incident took place,” said the RGP.
“This is a tragic incident, which is currently under investigation.
“It has no doubt affected many on both sides of the frontier, none more so than the family of the deceased and those involved in the incident.”
The RGP has tried to calm public hatred towards the nearby Spanish community, stating only a minority held these views.
“We advise restraint and urge the community not to fall into the trap of engaging in acrimonious exchanges on social media which only serve to incense feelings even more.
“We also urge members of our community not speculate on facts which have yet to be determined.
“Whilst we have not received any reports of local residents or vehicles having been targeted in Spain, we nevertheless advise the public to use
common sense and avoid areas or situations which may give rise to confrontation.