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article imageFuengirola resident fined for calling for help for 'drowning men'

By Anne Sewell     Oct 17, 2014 in World
Fuengirola - A young woman in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain has been hit with a 300 euro ($385) fine for calling out the Coast Guard in what turned out to be a false alarm. She thought two men were drowning out at sea.
Nuria, 22, was walking with her mother on the Paseo Maritimo (beach promenade) in Los Boliches, Fuengirola when she spotted what seemed to be two men in trouble. They were out on the ocean on what appeared to be a floating mattress of some kind. It was 10 p.m. and she thought it unusual that the men would be that far out on the ocean so late in the evening. Plus she said they appeared to have made a signal with red lights and were close to a buoy. She thought they might have been hanging on to that buoy for safety.
Nuria herself likes to swim, and while she couldn’t really calculate just how far the men were from the beach, she is from Fuengirola, knows the area well, and personally would never swim that far out, especially at night.
Worried about the two men, she then contacted the Local Police, but apparently the officers said that when signaling the men with torches, the men out on the sea had responded with torches of their own. They completely dismissed her concerns, saying that if the men were in trouble, they would have been shouting or splashing around to get attention.
Nuria was upset at the dismissive manner in which the police officers handled the situation and continued to worry about the two men. Enlisting the aid of other people walking on the beachfront, she and they finally convinced the officers to call in the coast guard.
It took an hour and a half for a helicopter and a boat to arrive on the scene, one from Almeria and the other from Algeciras, both cities way down the coast. Fortunately for the two men, but rather more unfortunately for Nuria, it turned out they were simply two fishermen, relaxed and sitting in a canoe, minding their own business with their backs to the shore, so they hadn’t actually noticed the drama that was unfolding on the beachfront.
Sadly for Nuria she will now have to pay the price of calling out the boat and helicopter on what was simply a false alarm. She told the local media that it’s always the person who alerts the authorities that suffers in a case like this, and that is probably why most people simply look the other way. But she said despite the results, she would do it again, that’s just the way she’s made.
Spanish sources:
The Local
Diario Sur
More about Fuengirola, Spain, False alarm, Coast guard
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