Union plea after “drunken” Irishman goes berserk at Tenerife airport
Unions are calling for safety measures to betightened up at Spanish airports after an Irishman “went berserk” at Tenerife south and attacked two security officers, putting them both in hospital.
They say urgent action has to be taken as a result of the rise in such problems, usually involving drunken passengers, and follows on from the death of a 64-year-old female security worker in May in Mallorca. She died on the operating table after suffering a broken leg during a confrontation with a holidaymaker who tried to go through a restricted access door after having a smoke.
The latest incident ha-ppened at Tenerife’s busy south airport and led to the arrest of the 49-year-old Irishman who is understood to live on the island.
The Federation of Private Security Workers (FTSP) of the Union Sindical Obrera (USO-Canarias) said it was “repulsed” by this latest attack on security officers.
The man is reported to have tried to gain access to a restricted area of the Reina Sofia aiport on the holiday island at 8pm on June 30th.
He tried to get through a security barrier and, according to witnesses, was “under the influence of alcohol”.
The union says the man was told he could not enter the airport in this way and a struggle then followed with two security guards, one of whom fell to the ground and suffered a head injury.
The Irishman then ran off and gained access to the restricted area of the airport where he was again stopped. During the process, another security guard was injured.
The man was eventually restrained by other staff and handcuffed before being taken away by the Civil Guard.
Both injured security officers needed hospital treatment, including stitches, for various injuries.
In a statement confirming the events, the union said: “From the Federation of Private Security Workers of the Union Sindical Obrera in Canarias (FTSP – USO Canarias), we want to express our “repulsion” in the face of another assault on security personnel, in this case at the facilities of the Tenerife South Airport, which occurred on Sunday, June 30th at around 8pm.”
The union confirmed the injuries to both guards and called for “these assaults to stop, more resources and legal protection.”
The incident at Palma airport in May which led to the death of the female security officer involved a German tourist who went outside to smoke a cigar and then tried to get back in through a restricted access door. In the confrontation which followed, the woman fell and broke her leg but died on the operating table.
The USO said afterwards that this incident involving violence was not isolated and could have been avoided if the Spanish airport authority had heeded previous warnings from staff.
It said verbal abuse and physical attacks were be-coming an everyday occurren-ce, especially during the high season, and extra personnel had been requested on numerous occasions.