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June 29, 2014

Medal-seeking Spanish men arrive at 2014 Goalball World Championships

Medal-seeking Spanish men arrive at 2014 Goalball World Championships

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

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Spain‘s men’s national goalball team arrived in Espoo, Finland Friday for the start of the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships. The team comes into the tournament with the goal of securing a medal, which would qualify them for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The team missed the 2012 Summer Paralympics.

Head coach Francisco Monreal said, “The objective is to reach the medal round, and qualify directly for the 2016 Games, but we need to be realistic and not think game by game, we can get a surprise. […] The competition will be decided in one game, head or tails, where it doesn’t matter what happened before.((es))

Coming into the competition, the team was ranked eleventh in the world based on the IBSA Unofficial rankings published late last month, down one spot from the April rankings. The team is scheduled to play their first game against the ninth ranked United States men’s team on Monday morning, before playing twenty-first ranked Germany later in the afternoon. Their other scheduled competitors in pool play are top ranked Iran, third ranked Algeria, seventh ranked Finland, twelfth ranked Czech Republic and twentieth ranked Ukraine. The team needs to finish in the top four in their group to advance to the second round.

The team’s roster includes Jose Daniel Fernández, Cristian Santamaria, Félix Vargas, Roman Martínez, Jesús Santana, and Javier Serrato. They are led by head coach Monreal, with assistant coach Carles Estrany and physiotherapist José Bravo. The team is drawn from around the country, with Santana playing for a club in the Canary Islands, Serrato playing for Valencia, Fernández for Madrid area Chamartín, Santamaría for Cantabria, Vargas coming from Barcelona and Martínez from Aragón.

Absent from the 2012 Summer Paralympics, the last major international competition the team competed in was the 2010 Goalball World Championships in Sheffield, England where the team finished fifth. In last year’s IBSA European Goalball Championships in Turkey, the team finished second, behind World Championship hosts and Paralympic gold medalists Finland.

Goalball was created in 1946, exclusively for people with a visual disability and designed to help with the rehabilitation of veterans returning from World War II. Play in the Paralympics consists of two twelve-minute periods, with a three minute break between halves. Players are blindfolded to ensure all are equally visually handicapped on-court, and the game can be stopped to ensure goggles are properly fitted. Standing in front of a long goal, they throw the ball at the opposition team’s net who in turn try to block it by listening to the ball, which contains a bell, and using their bodies to prevent the ball from going in. The audience is asked to remain silent during play.



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April 1, 2013

Quakes push Canary Islands up eleven centimetres

Quakes push Canary Islands up eleven centimetres

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Monday, April 1, 2013

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A submarine volcano explosion near El Hierro Island in 2011
Image: NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Multiple earthquakes over the Easter weekend around El Hierro Island, one of the Canary Islands, have raised some parts of the island by as much as 11 centimetres (4.3 inches). This includes a 4.9 magnitude earthquake Sunday, following 129 quakes below 1.3 magnitude through Saturday.

The majority of quakes making up this seismic event occurred at depths between 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) and 15 kilometers (9.3 miles), and ranged between 2.0 and 4.5 on the Richter Scale. VolcanoDiscovery reports this may be a sign magma is rising to the surface, but stuck around 20km deep where the 4.9 quake took place; these are signals there may be a volcanic eruption in the near future.

The 4.9 magnitude quake occurred roughly 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) off shore of El Hierro Island, the southern-most of the Canary Islands chain. It was felt by around 10,000 residents of the island. In response, local authorities closed western roads on the island, and other steps, after raising the alert level on the island to the second-highest civil level.

El Hierro, itself, was likely created as a result of volcanic activity taking place over a million years ago.



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October 16, 2008

Spanair mechanics to be questioned under criminal suspicion over Flight 5022 crash

Spanair mechanics to be questioned under criminal suspicion over Flight 5022 crash

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

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Three Spanair mechanics—including the head of maintenance for the airline in the area—are to be questioned under suspicion of manslaughter in connection to the Spanair Flight 5022 disaster. The other two workers checked the plane, a MD-82, before the failed takeoff at Madrid that killed 154 and left only eighteen survivors.

Map showing crash location.

The aircraft, destined for the Canary Islands, failed to maintain altitude after takeoff from Barajas Airport.

A preliminary report concluded that the wing flaps were not correctly set for takeoff, and an alarm that should have sounded to alert the flight crew to this problem failed. No reasons have been determined for these occurrences.

A judge has now summoned the head of Spanair maintenance at Barajas and the two mechanics who checked the aircraft. They were summoned by Juan Javier Perez of Madrid’s Superior Court, who heads the judicial enquiry into the accident.

Aircraft manufacturer McDonnell Douglas—which has since merged with Boeing—has suggested that operators should check the wing flaps before every flight. However, Spanair only checked them every morning and after each change in flight crew. The recommendation came after the 1987 crash of Northwest Flight 255.

So far, no one has been charged with a crime.



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October 11, 2008

Preliminary report released on Spanair disaster that killed 154

Preliminary report released on Spanair disaster that killed 154

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

A preliminary report has been released into the disastrous crash of Spanair Flight 5022 in Madrid, Spain on August 20, which killed 154. The report confirms an earlier leaked finding that the wing flaps failed and no warning sounded to alert the pilots.

The MD-82 was headed from Barajas airport to the Canary Islands. Video footage from airport security cameras shows the airliner travelling across an unusually long distance of runway before take-off. It failed to maintain altitude and quickly dropped back down at the runway’s end, before bursting into a fireball. Just eighteen people survived the accident.

The report confirms that the aircraft failed to get beyond forty feet off the ground before entering a stall and crashing. The tail of the jet struck the ground first, and the Spanish Civil Aviation Accident Investigation Commission (CIAIAC)’s report also notes that the aircraft was carrying 10,130 litres (2,673 gallons) of fuel.

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The wing flaps were “fully retracted” at “0 degrees” according to the 12-page report, which also notes that the cockpit voice recorder indicates a complete failure of the take-off warning system (TOWS) – which is supposed to alert pilots attempting to take off in a plane that is not properly configured – to sound prior to the failed ascent. Spanair checks the TOWS each day and after every change in flight crew, but neither of these occurred between the accident flight and the flight before.

It is not known when the CIAIAC’s final report will be ready, but estimates vary from a few months to two years. The latest report notes “The investigation continues. It will be necessary to carry out tests and an exhaustive examination of the recovered parts of the plane.” A separate judicial investigation also continues.

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August 20, 2008

Over one hundred die in Madrid plane crash

Over one hundred die in Madrid plane crash

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

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File:Columnas de humo del accidente aéreo de Madrid-Barajas (2008).jpg

Smoke from the fire caused by the crash
Image: 20 Minutos.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Location of the crash
Image: OpenStreetMap.

A passenger plane leaving from Madrid – Barajas Airport has crashed during take-off. 153 fatalities and 19 injuries have been reported amongst those who were on the aircraft. Flight JK5022, operated by Spanair, was destined for Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, when it skidded off the end of the runway in good weather at 14:45 local time. An engine of the aircraft is reported to have caught fire during the attempted takeoff.

A spokesman for S.A.M.U.R. stated that there were only 26 survivors. The plane at the time was carrying 173 people. 7 survivors later died en route to hospital.

The cause is unknown, but reports indicate that the left engine of the MD-82 was on fire during take-off. The United States agency National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team to help with the investigation and reported that “the aircraft broke apart and a post-crash fire ensued.”

“Helicopters are continually heading to the scene, dropping lots of water… The smoke has really died down now, things seem to be more under control,” said Stephanie McGovern from the BBC, commenting on the incident. Manuel Moleno, who witnessed the crash, said that “I’ve seen around 50 ambulances. They’re still coming and going, so there may still be more casualties.”

“SAS is doing everything possible to help passengers and next-of-kin and to assist Spanish authorities at this difficult time,” read a statement from SAS Group, the Stockholm-based company that owns Spanair. “SAS will provide further information as soon as it becomes available.”

“Boeing sends its deep condolences to the families and friends of those lost in the crash of Spanair flight 5022, and its wishes for the quick recovery of the injured,” said manufacturer Boeing which merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. “We stand ready to provide technical assistance.”



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February 15, 2007

Air Mauritania Boeing 737 hijacked

Air Mauritania Boeing 737 hijacked – Wikinews, the free news source

Air Mauritania Boeing 737 hijacked

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

A hijacked Air Mauritania Boeing 737 passenger plane has landed on Spain’s Canary Islands after making a fuel stop in Western Sahara, officials in Mauritania said today. It was hijacked after the takeoff from the Nouakchott airport.

While on the plane, the man demanded it to be flown to France to seek asylum.

The 71 passengers and eight person crew were let out when the hijacker landed the plane in Las Palmas. Several people were wounded by a gun and the suspect was arrested.

Reports say that it is unconfirmed as to what the man’s motive was. Mauritanian police are still investigating.

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September 7, 2006

Officers and immigrants injured in Canary Isles revolt

Officers and immigrants injured in Canary Isles revolt

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Thursday, September 7, 2006

Map of the Canary Islands highlighting Fuerteventura.

In Fuerteventura, the Foreigner Internment Center ‘La Matorral’ was the scene of an incident on Tuesday evening. Five officers of the National Police sustained light injuries, as well as several immigrants. The riot started when a man tried to get a second dinner.

Only eight policemen were guarding the 1400 detained immigrants. Members of the Police Union attributed the incident to the recent increase in immigration from Africa to the Canary Isles. As a result, custody centres are overcrowded. Guards say there is a different atmosphere, since normally the centers are more tranquil and few guards are needed.

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  • “Over 1000 illegal immigrants arrived at Canary Isles this weekend” — Wikinews, September 4, 2006

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September 4, 2006

Over 1000 illegal immigrants arrived at Canary Isles this weekend

Over 1000 illegal immigrants arrived at Canary Isles this weekend

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Monday, September 4, 2006

The Canary Islands, an autonomous community of Spain, are located off the shores of Africa and are the “Gates of Europe” for many refugees.

A high number of illegal immigrants, mainly of African origin, arrived on the beaches of the Canary Islands this weekend. Although the exact number reported varies, it seems that more than 1000 have been registered. One person did not survive the trip.

Map of the Canary Islands.

Earlier this year, in the weekend of May 12, 974 immigrants set foot on different isles. This Saturday alone, 674 foreigners have been found without the proper documents. Early August it already became clear that immigration numbers were increased dramatically, when officials reported a 307% increase (14,589 immigrants, compared to 4,751 during the same period in 2005).

A special session of the Canarian regional government pertaining to the immigration question is planned for Tuesday. Some Spanish sources expect these events to reopen the political debate on this issue.

The immigrants generally leave the African continent in overcrowded canoes, embarking on a dangerous boat trip. They try to reach the archipelago, which, being part of Spain, serves as an outpost for immigration into the European Union. Boats are often intercepted in Spanish territorial waters. On the shore, humanitarian organisations like the Red Cross are waiting to provide the first care to the travellers. On arrival, hypothermia, dehydration and minor injuries are the most common problems.

Thereafter, officials try to establish the immigrant’s identity. Most of them have no legal grounds for immigration, but cannot be repatriated because they conceal their identity, or because they are less than 18 years old. In that case they are taken to a state Foreigner Internment Center, where they can be held up to 40 days. Since Spain lacks bilateral agreements with most countries around the Mediterranean Sea except Morocco, they cannot return the immigrants without negotiations. If they aren’t arrested upon arrival, or when the procedure doesn’t result in repatriation, they can freely enter Spain and the European Union.

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March 28, 2005

Freak wave drags funeral party out to sea

Filed under: Archived,Canary Islands,Disasters and accidents,Spain — admin @ 5:00 am

Freak wave drags funeral party out to sea

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Monday, March 28, 2005

Two brothers were swept away and a woman was pulled to safety on Sunday after a wave, said to be 5-6 metres (17-20 feet) high, washed over their funeral service in Spain’s Canary Islands.

The massive wave struck while a party of 15 was spreading the ashes of a 16 year old boy in the sea, according to Manuel Sosa, one of the rescuers. The boy’s father, age 36, and a paternal uncle, age 23, were swept away and are presumed dead. The mother, age 34, was caught in the wave, but rescued.

The tragedy occurred near the village of Arucas on Gran Canaria Island.

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