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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Cumbrian family’s Majorca bombing ordeal

A Cumbrian family have returned from a holiday to the Spanish island of Majorca, where they witnessed a terrorist attack which killed two civil guard officers.

Bruce family photo
Allan Bruce with sons Kai, right, and Jaye

Allan Bruce, his wife Joanne, and 12-year-old Kai were sunbathing at the back of the popular Sol Mirlos Tordos hotel in Palma Nova, when the car bomb went off, just 100 yards away on July 30.

Mr Bruce, who said that the explosion sounded like the cannons that are fired during Whitehaven Maritime Festival, rushed to the front of the hotel to get his nine-year-old son, Jaye, who was in the play area with his friend – just metres away from the blast.

The 36-year-old said: “Everybody was running round the pool screaming and looking for their kids. My wife told me to go and get our youngest. You could see the smoke and the fire. The little lad said that he saw the car bonnet fly into the air.”

The device, placed under a police car, killed two officers and injured several other people in the Spanish island’s crowded resort. Basque separatist group ETA was immediately blamed.

Mr Bruce, of Ullswater Avenue, Hensingham, Whitehaven, took his son and friend to the back of the hotel and went to see what was happening.

“I went outside to see what I could see. The fire engine was outside the hotel. You could see everything. There was something lying in the middle of the road. It was one of the guards – he was still on fire.”

The hotel was immediately shut down and the guests ushered to the back as they were told that there could be another bomb.

“Nobody was telling us anything, everything was coming from the lifeguard. It was the lifeguard who told us it was a car bomb,” added Mr Bruce. “I thought it was just a cylinder blown up. We didn’t take it all in when we found out what had really happened.”

A second bomb under a nearby police jeep was destroyed in a controlled blast.

Later that night, the hotel reopened and the following day a minute’s silence was held in memory of the two civil guard officers.

Mr Bruce, a health physics monitor at Sellafield, said that he and his family were shocked over what happened. He added: “The night before we had been up there and came past that way. You start to think ‘what if we had walked past there 16 hours later?’

“Everybody was in shock. When they opened the main road up, there was lots of cars coming and people having a look.”

Camera crews were using the hotel as a base and several of the hotel’s guests were interviewed about their experience.

The Bruce family bought a candle from the supermarket and put it alongside thousands of flowers and other candles that had been left for the dead men.

Mr Bruce said that the ordeal has not put him off going back on holiday to Majorca. Thousands of tourists were affected as some flights were turned back or diverted to other Spanish islands. The blast came a day after a similar attack in northern Spain which injured 46. The government has blamed both on the Basque separatist group ETA.

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