Tragedy at Ballermann: Two German women and two other people died when a fully occupied restaurant collapsed on Playa de Palma in Mallorca. The German fatalities were 20 and 30 years old, the police in Palma said. In addition, a 23-year-old Spanish woman, who is said to have worked in the restaurant, and a 44-year-old man from Senegal were killed in the accident on Thursday evening.

The German fatalities were presumably vacationers, it was said upon request. It was initially unclear why the building collapsed on the Mediterranean island, which is very popular with German vacationers.

The police corrected the number of injured people who were taken to hospitals after the accident from 16 to 14. There were ten Dutch people, three Germans and one Spaniard – there were eight men and six women between the ages of 24 and 34. As of Friday evening, nine of them were still being treated in hospitals, but no one’s life was still in danger.

The accident shocked not only the Balearic Islands but also the whole of Spain at a late hour. In Madrid, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez expressed his condolences to the families of the victims on X, formerly Twitter, and emphasized: “I am closely following the consequences of the terrible collapse on Palma beach.”

Overloading of the first floor possible cause of collapse

The accident happened right on the beach, only about a kilometer away from the cult bars Megapark and Bierkönig. The Medusa Beach Club building collapsed around 8:30 p.m. The first floor immediately collapsed down to the basement, where many guests had dinner, reported “El País” and other media, citing eyewitnesses. An initial inspection showed that overloading on the first floor was a possible cause of the collapse, said fire chief García.

Early on Friday morning, emergency services were still frantically searching for victims under the rubble. Shortly before midnight, a police spokesman gave good news: “With 90 percent certainty” there were no more victims under the rubble, he said when asked. No further victims were recovered as of Friday evening.

Javier, a resident of Playa de Palma, was nearby when the building on Cartago Street collapsed quickly like a house of cards and with a loud bang. “It sounded like a bomb,” he told a reporter from the regional newspaper Última Hora. Other people said the building had only been renovated “a few years ago.” The part on the first floor that collapsed was used as a chill-out area.

“We are all shocked here”

The reaction of Raúl Pursnami, who runs a fashion store next to the collapsed building, shows how much the accident shook the Playa and its residents. “We are all shocked here. I can’t speak, they were my neighbors,” he told the newspaper El País. He also heard a very, very loud noise. “I just came out of the store and saw the whole building collapse. It’s a shame because in theory there has to be an inspection every year.” Everything happened very quickly while people ate and danced in the restaurant.

“Última Hora” reported on Friday, citing the authorities, that the building had only recently undergone a structural inspection. “Minor problems were identified, but they did not affect the structure.” However, the balcony terrace was classified as “not accessible,” the paper wrote.

In order to clarify the collapse, authorities say all permits for structural changes and all operating licenses for the restaurant are being examined. “We are checking whether everything is in order. And if not, we will find out why,” the regional minister for town planning, Óscar Fidalgo, was quoted as saying by the regional newspaper “Diario de Mallorca”. “We are looking at everything. But I cannot make any assumptions with the data we have at the moment.”

Many guests in the restaurant at the time of the collapse

At the time of the collapse, many guests were in the restaurant, which partly also functioned as a cocktail bar with live music, media reported. Police, fire and emergency services personnel were quickly on site. The neighboring restaurants and residential buildings were evacuated due to the risk of collapse and the area was cordoned off. Psychologists and doctors at the scene of the accident looked after slightly injured people, relatives of the victims and visibly shaken witnesses to the tragedy hours after the collapse.

Up to 1,000 people gathered in front of the scene of the accident after the collapse, reported the regional newspapers “Diario de Mallorca” and “Última Hora”. Relatives of employees feared for their loved ones, and onlookers debated the possible causes. Police had to repeatedly ask the crowd to be quiet so that rescue teams could hear the voices of possible survivors beneath the rubble.

The regional prime minister Marga Prohens, the mayor of Palma, Jaime Martínez, and the first deputy mayor, Javier Bonet, also quickly drove to the beach that evening to get an on-site overview of the tragedy and the rescue work. Mayor Martínez declared three days of mourning.

After the start of the party season, numerous tourists have been at Ballermann again since the end of April, and – unlike the visitors to the English party stronghold of Magaluf west of Palma – the majority come from Germany. Many visitors went back to everyday holiday life on the Playa on Friday. While two investigators are examining the scene of the accident nearby, coffee is being served on the next corner. The guests of this restaurant seem to be completely relaxed – and don’t look at the ceiling skeptically.