Following the death of a toddler who fell down a 70 metre bore hole in Totalañ in January, the Málaga prosecutor has called for the owner of land where the tragedy unfolded to be charged with reckless homicide. The body of two-year-old Julen Roselló from the El Palo district of Málaga was recovered at the end of a massive rescue operation, almost two weeks after he disappeared during a family lunch.
“I never thought a child could fit into it. I’ll never forgive myself.”
The bore hole had been drilled about a month earlier in an effort to find water and had left an opening just 25 centimetres in diameter. Land owner David Serrano, a friend of the bereaved family, said he had covered the hole with two concrete blocks after the exploration proved unsuccessful in case someone stumbled and broke an ankle. “I never thought a child could fit into it,” he said later. “I’ll never forgive myself.”
Serrano’s legal team deflected responsibility for drilling the hole to the engineer who undertook the work which was carried out without a licence from the regional government. They said Serrano was convinced the operation was legal, although the contractor who bored the test hole has claimed that Serrano had assured him that he had all the necessary permits.
Since the Totalán tragedy made national headlines, a number of environmental groups have alleged that there are “thousands” of illegal wells dug in the province of Málaga, many of which lack minimum security measures. They say that, apart from the danger posed to children and animals, the “theft” of water from such illegal installations threatens and may be polluting the water supply to the public.
Civil Defence volunteers have been sealing illegal wells in the Axarquía since the tragedy. Rincón de la Victoria was the first municipality to take action, followed by Vélez-Málaga, Torrox, Nerja and others. Anyone coming across an apparently abandoned well should contact their town hall and the Guardia Civil.