At a time when FIA is campaigning hard on spectator safety, a local Rally event in Spain has left seven dead after a driver veered into a crowd of spectators on Saturday. The Coruna Rally was taking part in the northwestern region of Galicia. The event was discontinued after the deadly crash that has now become the worst rally accident in Spain.
Six people were killed instantly while 16 others were rushed to hospital. Among the dead was a 13-year old girl, her mother and two pregnant women. Ana Cayazzo, one of the pregnant women was due to give birth today, she died instantly alongside her partner Miguel Caridad. The seventh fatality was a young girl named Uxia who succumbed to serious head injuries last night.
The driver lost control of his car while cornering at high speed and went straight into a crowd of 20 spectators. Both the driver and his co-driver were unhurt in that incident.
The accident comes at a time when FIA is reviewing its current spectator safety measures prompted by the crash from Rally Argentina that left six spectators hospitalized. FIA Rally Director Jarmo Mahonen made it clear that it’s the responsibility of the organizer to ensure spectator safety.
Speaking to Autosport, Mahonen said, “As an organiser, you have to ensure that the spectators do not go to these areas. For me it is impossible even to consider leaving the responsibility for this to the spectators themselves.”
‘Organizers failed here’
At the Coruna Rally, the spectators were positioned in the worst place possible – at a corner. In a rally event, there is so much adrenalin within the spectators and they are more likely to get closer to the most thrilling locations such as bends, jumps and straights. It’s the prime responsibility of any organizer to ensure that such dangerous spots are kept secure from the fans at all times.
In regard to FIA events, Mahonen added, “Local rally organisers are responsible for spectator safety in their rallies and if there is any kind of lapse on the safety side then this will not be tolerated, events will be removed from the calendar straight away.”