“That happened in the blink of an eye”: several injured people recover after an accident during a festival in Ciales

Several of the people involved in an accident, reported during the Aguadulce Festival, in Ciales, are slowly recovering from the injuries they suffered when a mud racing vehicle jumped a cement fence and ended up hitting them last Sunday.

The Police had previously reported that they had evidence of at least eight injured people who received medical assistance in nearby hospitals.

“Four or five have been discharged“, indicated Commander Edwin Acevedo Sandoval, director of operations for the Arecibo police region, to The new day.

For its part, Jean del Valleone of the paramedics who was injured in the accident, told this newspaper that several rescuers he knows, and who were injured in the accident, “are already at home.”

“I think only two are still hospitalized,” he explained to this medium.

Likewise, he pointed out that one of those who remains detained is a paramedic from Morovis, for whom blood donations were requested yesterday. Del Valle explained that he underwent surgery and “is already under observation, recovering.”

The other hospitalized person, he indicated, is the photographer of the event, but he did not know the details of his condition. Acevedo Sandoval also admitted not knowing the condition of this person.

Meanwhile, and after several requests from this medium, the mayor of Ciales, Alexander Burgos Otero, has also not been available for interviews today. However, this morning, on a NotiUno radio station for the Ciales region, he commented that “two (men) are still hospitalized.”

When asked about the person who was intubated, the official indicated that “he has shown improvement…last I heard. This is very important”, and then exhort citizens to donate blood for the affected paramedic.

Burgos Otero highlighted that two of the injured are municipal employees of Ciales, but in the interview he did not address the issue of safety measures related to the mud racing event, coordinated by the Mudbug entity, which is registered as a non-profit organization.

The police report indicated that the injured men are aged 21, 23, 29, 30, 41 and 45 years old, while the woman is 20 years old. They were all paramedics, rescuers or firefighters, except for the photographer.

On the other hand, Del Valle still has not been able to get out of his head the sound he heard as the vehicle passed over his head, after jumping the fence.

“That happened in the blink of an eye.”, he remembered. “We were in the tent where we were assigned to be. From there, we rescued one who overturned earlier, in a Jeep,” she said.

He added that, “then, when that part arrives, which is the strongest category, the driver of the vehicle starts it and comes over us. We ran away. “I wanted to go to the ravine towards the river, but I didn’t have time.”

“When he passed over me, something hit my head and I was stunned. Then others came and took us out. Today we are on the third day and I still hear the noise from when he accelerated,” she said.

During the event, a Jeep overturned after hitting the cement fence where there were spectators from the general public, during the 4×4 race of the Aguadulce Festival in Ciales. (Supplied to El Nuevo Dia / Palfiebru)

When asked if the driver of that vehicle had lost control, but in the opposite direction, towards where the Jeep turned, Del Valle commented that “things would have been worse.”

Several images captured by spectators show multiple people stuck to the other side of the cement fence and the metal fence, the same as the one where the serious accident occurred.

“There would have been more injuries, more people involved, because everyone was stuck together. There were even children there,” the man described.

For future events, the paramedic considers it necessary to establish “more security measures and placing the emergency response person in a safer place.”

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