News is causing shockwaves on the holiday island of Mallorca: Four people died when a restaurant collapsed on the popular Playa de Palma on Thursday evening. Including two Germans, as the police announced the morning after the accident. 16 injured people are currently being treated in various hospitals, five of them are in critical condition. The rest are all seriously injured, but their lives are out of danger, officials say.

The fatal accident also caused horror in Germany. Many circumstances are still unclear. The most important questions and answers at a glance.

The accident happened right on the beach, just a few streets away from the cult bars “Megapark” and “Bierkönig”. The building of the “Medusa Beach Club” collapsed on Thursday at around 8.30 p.m. The first floor collapsed immediately down to the basement, where many guests were having dinner, reported “El País” and other media, citing eyewitnesses. Javier, a resident of Playa de Palma, was in the immediate vicinity when the building on Cartago Street collapsed as quickly as a house of cards, but with a loud roar. “It sounded like a bomb,” he told a reporter from the regional newspaper “Última Hora”.

Emergency services from the police, fire brigade and Mallorcan emergency services were quickly on site. The neighboring restaurants and residential buildings were evacuated due to the risk of collapse and the area was cordoned off.

Up to 1,000 people gathered in front of the scene of the accident immediately after the collapse, the regional newspapers reported. 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 next day it became known: Two German vacationers aged 20 and 30 were among the four people who died in the building collapse. In addition, a 23-year-old Spanish woman and a 44-year-old man from Senegal were killed in the accident, the police in Palma said. Palma’s deputy mayor, Javi Bonet, said the two Germans who were killed were vacationing in Mallorca. According to police, the Spanish woman worked in the restaurant. According to local media reports, the Senegalese had also been living on the island for years.

After the initial shock, the next day the question of “how” comes to the fore. How could the fatal accident happen? 

Just two days ago, the “Medusa Beach Club” advertised its “new roof terrace” on social networks. The restaurant, which is popular with tourists and residents alike, had previously been “under renovation throughout the winter,” as a neighbor reported to “Diario de Mallorca.”

Now initial investigations indicate that the new terrace on the first floor gave way and collapsed. And with it the ground floor, which could not support the weight, so that both floors collapsed down to the basement. An initial inspection showed that overloading on the first floor was a possible cause of the collapse, said fire chief Eder García. The police also suspect that the load-bearing capacity of the terrace was exceeded. The investigations were ongoing.

A similar tragedy occurred in Mallorca in 2009. At that time, seven people were killed when a three-story building collapsed in Palma.

On the evening of the tragedy, the regional prime minister Marga Prohens, the mayor of Palma, Jaime Martínez, and the first deputy mayor, Javier Bonet, went to the beach to see the scene with their own eyes. President Prohens wrote on X that she was “shocked” by the news and added that she was “sending love and warmth to the families of the four people who lost their lives.” Mayor Martínez declared three days of mourning. A minute’s silence was held on Friday afternoon.

In Madrid, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez expressed his condolences to the families of the victims on X and emphasized: “I am closely following the consequences of the terrible collapse on the beach in Palma.”

There is also great sympathy in Germany. Mallorca is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Germans. It is not for nothing that the island in the Mediterranean is jokingly called the “17th federal state”. According to official figures, a total of more than 14 million tourists visited the island last year.

The day after, the investigations at Playa de Palma are in full swing. 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 people under the rubble, he told the German Press Agency. No further victims were recovered by the afternoon. For safety reasons, the neighboring buildings of the Medusa Beach Club were also evacuated.

Many visitors went back to everyday holiday life on the Playa on Friday. While a team of officials, technicians and architects from the Palma municipality examined the scene of the accident nearby, coffees were being served on the next corner.

Note: This article has been updated several times.

Sources: “El País”, “Diario de Mallorca”, “Última Hora”, with news agencies DPA and AFP