In my jaunts around Spain, I’ve come across many British pensioners who set off on walks around the country without taking into consideration the Spanish heat and without proper care and preparation. Last year an elderly woman on one of my tours had to be rescued by helicopter from a high hill in Albir after she ventured off the path into dangerous terrain and broke her leg. So it comes as no surprise, unfortunately, to hear of two British pensioners who have died while out on walks in the Gran Canaria this week. The two died in separate incidents, just a day apart, but both deaths could possibly have been prevented with a little more care.
On Sunday, the first British pensioner to die was a 78-year-old tourist who had a heart attack while out walking with a group of other British pensioners. The woman had a heart attack after the heat reached 37 degrees Celsius as the group walked along the barranquillo de San Andrés in Morgán. Medics were unable to revive her.
Two others in the party also suffered heat stroke and are in critical condition at Gran Canaria Doctor Negrín Hospital, while others in the party were also treated by medical staff flown in by helicopter to help.
To anyone walking in Spain but particularly to the elderly, if you are not used to walking or walking in heat, you should not walk during the high temperatures and, even if you are, you should always be carrying many bottles of water as heat stroke can come on quickly if you do not stay hydrated.
The second death of a British tourist while out walking occurred later on Sunday afternoon when a 73-year-old man fell down a cliff in the municipality of Moya and died. His body was recovered by a local helicopter rescue service.
Unfortunately, too many older Brits walk in areas in Spain they are not familiar with and do not have the appropriate equipment for. If you are not equipped for harsh terrain or for climbing, do not venture off pathways and, of course, stay away from cliff edges. What may seem like ‘safe areas’ are not always safe as cliffs can crumble and terrain can suddenly become far more dangerous than it first looked when you started to climb up it.
It’s sad to see so many deaths every year of older British tourists in Spain. Deaths that could likely have been prevented with just a little more care and awareness of their surroundings.