The child who was lost in an excursion and the seven people who died looking for him

There are families who never change from address or telephone for fear that the disappeared returns and does not find them at home or call the number they have

The child who was lost in an excursion and the seven people who died looking for him

There are families who never change from address or telephone for fear that the disappeared returns and does not find them at home or call the number they have memorized and nobody responds to them.

The parents of the child Germán Quintana White, however, the pain made them put land by means. Exactly 1.009 kilometers away, the distance between Road between Oviedo and the city of Fuengirola (Málaga), where they moved in 1988, one year after his 13-year-old son was lost during an excursion from the school to the peaks of Europe.

-My parents sold everything they had in Oviedo [a restaurant and the floor] to get away from there. The peaks of Europe have never come back and my father did not want to go back to Asturias. There were several years in which they cut the contact completely.

Cristina Quintana, 40 years old today, Germán's little sister, serves us on the terrace of a fifth floor from which you can almost see the beach of Fuengirola Boliches. It is the house in which the mother of her, María Lourdes live. She has been absentself absent during the interview - "this topic is very affected, it is very painful for her to remember it" -and she hopes our march in a nearby park with the daughters of Cristina, six and three years old. "Last night he did not sleep thinking about that he came," I should have told you not, so I said yes', she said she this morning. "

It has been lucky that the mother gave the approval to the talk with her daughter and also that she was in Spain. She usually resides in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), where she works as a translation teacher at the University. After a year and a half, without being able to leave the country by the Covid-19 pandemic, she only 15 days ago she has come to Fuengirola. She comes pregnant for six months and with the intention of giving birth here the third son or daughter of her, since she has not wanted to know the baby's sex.

For years, the family does not speak with the media.

-It is not that the hope is lost, but we have had so many interviews and then they are worth it at all ... I really do it now for making a little tribute to my brother, to convey that we have not forgotten and that for us it is important .

The White Quintana were mid-1987 the live portrait of the prototypical happy family. Father, José Arturo, had returned to the Natal Asturias after 14 years old emigrated in Argentina and had married a countryana of Ouria, María Lourdes. The marriage rode a restaurant in Oviedo -ella in the kitchen; He attending to the clientele - and had La Parejita: Germán (13 years) and Cristina (6). In this idyllic stamp the missing Germán and also the Father, José Arturo Quintana, deceased four years ago of cancer ago.

Cristina, who was only six years old, can hardly find memories when he dives in his memory from that time. "They mix with the stories that they have told me. [Close your eyes and concentrate] I have on my head Images of the floor, of some diffuse family scene ... I have memories of the suffering of those days and subsequent ones. I was with Family because it was very small and tried to protect me. My parents traveled a lot, they were all day and coming to Cangas de Onís [to the Civil Guard barracks] ".

On June 7, 1987, it was Sunday. The White Quintana lived in front of the Loyola College of Oviedo, from which the excursion broke to the Lagos de Covadonga. Some children were accompanied by family and others, such as Germán, they were alone with an authorization signed by the parents. José Arturo and María Lourdes left the child at the bottom of the bus and left the restaurant without suspecting that it would be the last day that would open the place.

At a given moment of the expedition, a group proposed to climb the Mirador of Ordiales, a natural balcony with stunning views of the Angón Valley. The chronicles of the time do not make it clear if Germán was aimed at the last moment and started the already lagged ascension or if he became climbed once begun. It seems reliable the testimony of a mountaineer who said she saw him sitting under a tree, calmly, probably resting, alone.

When the group that had undergone the ascension returned to the starting point, a recount was held. A child was missing. Those responsible for the excursion realized the absence of Germán over 14.30, at the same time that a sharp storm was unleashed in the mountains. The spring day was suddenly transformed into winter. The rain joined a thick fog that hindered visibility and the thermometer fell from 20 degrees and peak to zero. Germán only wore a t-shirt, a fine sweater and a towel; No food. He was looking for him all night with whistles and dogs despite the temporal, which lacked very strongly in the Cantabrian cornice the following days causing the shipwreck of several vessels and another disappeared on the coast of Vizcaya.

It was also the dense fog that is responsible for the tragedy of the disappearance of the child to be transformed into another even greater. The search was joined by a helicopter and the Ertzaina rescue dog group, the only canine team search for people who had then in Spain. On the fifth day of whipping, over 15.30, the weather conditions made it impossible to continue and the eight members of the group poured himself who returned to Cangas de Onís in the helicopter and who touched a tedious turn by car. Just take off, the appliance crashed. In it, seven people traveled - the four canine guides who had won the raffle, the pilot, the mechanic and the technical manager of civil protection of Asturias - and the four rescue dogs. All died on the spot. Among them was Lourdes Verdes, mother of the presenter Anne Igartiburu, who was 18 years old.

-The accident added even more pain. We are not direct responsible for the deaths of those people, but of course we would have liked to avoid it, "says Cristina without deepening a lot in the unfortunate event.

On June 23, 1987, two weeks after the disappearance, ABC collected these statements from Germán's mother. "I live, we will not find it anymore, we have no hope, but I only ask that my child's corpse appears." White Lourdes, said the newspaper, I had lost 10 kilos in 14 days.

The media made continuous but discreet follow-up of the case. Then only the two public television channels existed and the program had not even been created who knows where. "It gives me a dread to think that this would have happened today with the current means of communication, which I think are brutal and hurt families," says Cristina, very critical with the media treatment of disappearances. «When the case of Anna and Olivia leaves [the girls of Tenerife] off the television. The media have turned a case of disappearance into a telenovela. "

In those declarations of 1987, the mother did not contemplate that her son lived, but three decades later, the family, or at least Cristina, no longer speaks with such rotundity about Germán's fate.

-The logical thing is to think that it had an accident, stayed there and we have not found the body. But since there is no evidence that confirming that theory, as it was not found a rest, nor the backpack or anything .... When the body does not appear and there are no tracks or trace you have to shuffle other possibilities, as it is not there . If the logical does not confirm, any idea that makes you think that you are alive somewhere you believe it.

His parents believed, or at least he heard, who approached them with the story that David had not died, mostly seers and detectives.

"Get a lot of money in thousands of theories: kidnappings, people who had seen him alive taking a flock, religious sects ... My parents were looking at Hare Krishna.

At least during the decade following the disappearance they dedicated themselves to the active search of Germán. The first year in Fuengirola did not even work. Then they opened a restaurant bar, namely Arcoiris, where Asturian cuisine served until retirement.

-How did my life change the disappearance of Germán?

-In an indescribable way. My parents were not what they were again. My father had depression many years and I do not stop asking me how my mother managed to go through this without going crazy. Regarding me, I do not know how my life would have been if this had not happened. From then on my parents were protective with me, more nervous about what could happen, more pending me. It is very difficult to understand that a child is dying but when it disappears ... let's suppose that he died: that they do not tell you how he died, if he suffered, or if he's still alive and they did something terrible or manipulated him so he would not want to go back to Your family .... that uncertainty is a trauma that can not be overcome.

- Do you have hope to find it alive?

-I do not know how to explain it ... Hope that a person keep alive without contacting you 30 years later? What may have happened to him? In my mind and in my soul I'm still alive, but I'm not waiting as the first day to sound the phone and tell you "I am" or "we have found it".

All the families of long-term disappeared participating in this series of reports have ended up asking for the death statement of the absentee - can be done from 10 years - for, once parents', saving problems with the inheritance to the Next generation. The White Quintana does not.

-It would be like admitting that he is dead. We have fixed things economically so that it is not a problem in the future. But I have not even raised it. For me it is like unplugging the patient from the machine.

Updated Date: 08 August 2021, 20:14

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