Gibraltarians in Barcelona describe shock at attacks
Gibraltarians on holiday were caught up in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Barcelona earlier this week.
Two members of local sports club Mons Calpe were held in a lockdown for an hour inside a Corte Ingles store on Las Ramblas, just metres away from where a man rammed down pedestrians in a vehicle attack.
Most of the team was at the beach far away from the incident, but all made their way safely back to the hotel. A total of 25 members of Mons Calpe are in Barcelona.
Leonardo Vella, Captain of Mons Calpe Sports Club, and football player Graeme Torrilla were both at a beach in Barcelona when they were notified about the attack by family and friends in Gibraltar.
“We were in shock and everyone kept on calling us to ask what was happening,” said Mr Vella.
He added that the team’s assistant coach and physiotherapist had been around Las Ramblas that afternoon and with that knowledge the team decided to go back to the hotel as soon as possible to ensure everyone’s safety.
The lockdown in Barcelona meant there were no taxis available but they walked around the outskirts until transportation was available.
Both members caught up in the lockdown stayed inside the shop for an hour until they were allowed to walk out with their hands held up.
Mr Torrilla told the Chronicle they had been advised to stay mostly indoors and to be cautious when outside.
The team are in Barcelona for a football training camp until the end of August, but are now undecided on whether to cut the trip short.
Local man Mark Beltran landed in Barcelona with his wife and five and seven year old children just before the attack took place.
Mr Beltran was meant to have been checking into his hotel on Las Ramblas at the time of the attack, but his flight was delayed an hour.
He found out about the incident just after his arrival in Barcelona.
In the taxi Mr Beltran saw ambulances zooming past and decided to contact Hotel Sant Agusti situated just 150 metres from Las Ramblas where the family were booked to stay.
When he called the hotel was on lockdown and the taxi instead dropped the family some roads down from Las Ramblas so they could find a new place to stay.
Mr Beltran then wandered around Barcelona and found a room in the fourth hotel he found.
“We are very lucky we had the delay, if not we would have been checking into the hotel when it all happened,” Mr Beltran said.
“We are staying a few kilometres from Las Ramblas but we are still advised not to go too far away from the area.”
“Everybody here seems to be quieter today. Las Ramblas is open now but we haven’t dared to go near it.”