British hiker, 70, dies of heatstroke on eve of Sevilla’s hottest September day since 1988

hikerA British pensioner has died from heatstroke whilst on the Santiago pilgrimage route at its extreme south, in the province of Sevilla.

He was out walking during the hottest part of what was hitherto the hottest day of this year – Sunday – and in what is statistically one of the hottest provinces in the mainland, and was not carrying any food or water.

The victim, 70, was part of the way along the pictured route between Castiblanco de los Arroyos – where he had spent the night in one of the dedicated ‘pilgrim’ hostels along Spain’s official footpaths eventually leading to the cathdral in Santiago de Compostela in the far north-west of the country – and Almadén de la Plata, in Sevilla’s northern mountain ranges.

Another ‘pilgrim’ found him at around 14.00, when the ‘midday’ sun is at its strongest – given that ‘noon’ is an hour later in Europe due to the summer clock change, and two hours later in Spain because of its being in the wrong time zone.

He was complaining of feeling sick, dizzy and feverish, and had not brought any water or food with him.

The walker who found him gave him water and rang the 112 emergency hotline, but when the Guardia Civil arrived at the scene, it was already too late.

Andalucía’s inland provinces are normally the hottest parts of the mainland in summer, with temperatures in the shade frequently rising well into the 40ªC bracket and, in the sun, over 50ºC.

In fact, the very day after the British hiker’s death, the province of Sevilla broke its 28-year record temperature for September – unbroken since 1988 when the mercury soared to 42.6ºC in the shade on September 7, yesterday (Monday, September 5) saw thermometers nearly go off the scale at 44.6ºC in the shade.

This meant that in the sun, it would have been up to the mid-50ºCs.

Published Think Spain 6 September 2016

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