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José shows a picture of Oliver and Julen.
"It's been an interminable year, but Julen wouldn't want us to break down"

"It's been an interminable year, but Julen wouldn't want us to break down"

A year after their son fell down a 100-metre-deep borehole, leading to an unprecedented rescue operation, Julen's parents talk about their loss

ÁLVARO FRÍAS / JUAN CANO

Friday, 17 January 2020, 12:31

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It was 13 January 2019 when two-year-old Julen Roselló slipped into a hole while he was playing on land near the village of Totalán just east of Malaga. It wasn't until nearly two weeks later that the toddler's body was finally recovered, following a rescue operation that involved 300 people, from firefighters to engineers and finally miners, as well as dozens of volunteers.

Julen had fallen down a borehole that was 100 metres deep and less then a hand's span wide.

A year after the events, Julen's parents, Vicky García and José Roselló, talk of the tragedy in their flat in El Palo, which has become a kind of shrine to Julen, as well as to his older brother Oliver, who had died previously of an illness.

Surrounded by photographs and toys, the couple explain how the last 12 months have been "interminable".

"It's very tough; this has been the first time we've spent Christmas by ourselves, without either of our children," says an emotional José.

The couple say that over the past year they've tried "not to think too much". They are always going to carry what happened inside, but they're fighting to "keep going" as they say Oliver and Julen would not have wanted to see them break down.

Despite trying not to think about those 13 days on the mountainside, the couple expressed their gratitude to all the professionals involved in the rescue operation. "We are eternally grateful," they say, mentioning the firefighters, the Guardia Civil, the psychologists, the local people and especially the Protección Civil volunteers. "They looked after us and after everyone who was working to reach Julen," says José.

The anniversary comes just days before the start of the trial of David Serrano, the owner of the land the family were visiting on the day of the tragedy. Serrano, the boyfriend of a cousin of José, is accused of manslaughter through negligence.

"It's going to be very tough," they admit and hope that "it's over as soon as possible". Out-of-court talks have been taking place between legal representatives but the couple prefer not to comment.

In their opinion what happened to Julen was an accident that could have been prevented: "But that's for a judge to decide."

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