By Humphrey Carter
THE skies opened over Majorca yesterday morning as torrential rain and hurricane-force winds lashed the islands for 30 minutes, catching the region off-guard, causing widespread destruction and claiming the life of a port worker in Portixol on the outskirts of Palma.The eye of the fierce storm struck just as 44-year-old Balearic Port Authority employee Jaime Morey Sofías and his assistant started work on board their cleaning vessel in the Portixol marina. They were still clearing up the mess left in the wake of the heavy over-night storms earlier in the week and just as the two men set to work at the entrance to the fishing port, the marina captain issued a warning that a storm was approaching at great speed from the west. Jaime Morey Sofías tried to take immediate evasive action, turning the four-metre, four-tonne industrial cleaning vessel round in order to head back to the quay, but just minutes later the boat was hit by a huge sea surge which flipped the boat over. Eyewitnesses said that the vessel was turned over so quickly, it was a miracle that one of the two men managed to jump to safety.
Tragically, Jaime Morey, in the cabin when the boat was hit, was trapped under the four-tonne vessel.
A local yachtsman immediately set out to the accident scene and dived on the boat using tanks and diving equipment, but in the wake of the storm, visibity underwater was zero. A number of port workers also leapt into the water to try and help save Morey but the cabin door was blocked and the rescuers were unable to smash the windows. 44-year-old Morey was clearly visible inside and, according to those who tried to save his life, was alive for just a few minutes before running out of oxygen. By the time the emergency services, including a team of GEAS Guardia Civil divers, reached the scene, Jaime Morey was dead and it was the GEAS divers who eventually recovered his body. The marine cleaning vessel was eventually lifted out of the water by a crane at 12.30.
A full investigation was mounted yesterday and police will be taking statements from eyewitnesses and all of those who battled against the clock to try and save the 44-year-old's life.


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