Tragic death final nail in coffin for Spanish village

THE death of a young man is always a tragedy. 

But in the case of 25-year-old Javier García it is a double tragedy, as he was the last young man left who was actually willing to live and work in the Asturian municipality of Yernes y Tameza. 

The municipality is dying. It has the lowest birth rate in Spain – the last child to be born there was 10 years ago. And he and his family had moved away. 

Spanish newspaper El Mundo reports that García, the only man under the age of 50 who worked in the township (his brother lives there but works for a neighbouring council), drove his tractor along the steep road that connects the two biggest villages of the municipality, Yernes and Villabre. 

For reasons unknown the tractor, towing a heavy load of tiles, overturned and crushed him. 

The emergency medical helicopter, the only possible assistance in the isolated mountainous region, was at the time 70 kilometres away, in Gozon, rescuing a woman who had been trapped on a beach. 

Mayor Manuel Tamargo and several neighbours, who had waved farewell to him just moments before as he started his journey, tried to help García as they waited for the helicopter to complete its first mission and then arrive at the site of the accident. 

But it was in vain. García died at the scene. 

Former Mayor Carlos Fernandez, told El Mundo: “It’s incredible, terrible, the only young man who worked in the town and wanted to live here.” 

As the crow flies it is not far from the busy town of Oviedo but is 1,000 metres above sea level in inaccessible terrain and has just 140 registered inhabitants. Only three children have been born there so far this century. Just one – now aged 13 – remains in the area. 

García, a native of the area, told El Mundo last year that he was happy to stay in the municipality raising cattle. This was despite the fact even his parents had left. He had a girlfriend, who runs a local bar. 

The funeral took place in the church of Santa Cruz de Yernes with practically the entire population attending. For them it was about foremost the loss of a muchloved young man but secondly about another nail in the coffin of their municipality. 

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Written by

Dilip Kuner

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