Tempête Xynthia : le procès s’ouvre, les élus de La Faute en première ligne
Quatre ans après le passage de la tempête Xynthia, qui a provoqué la mort de 29 personnes à La Faute-sur-Mer (Vendée), le tribunal correctionnel des Sables-d’Olonne est saisi du procès qui commence ce lundi et doit s’achever le 17 octobre. Cinq semaines d’audience, plus de 120 parties civiles… Sur le banc des prévenus, cinq personnes physiques. Ils encourent, principalement, 5 ans de prison et 75 000 € d’amende pour homicides involontaires aggravés. Deux sociétés de BTP sont également poursuivies en tant que personnes morales…
In the early hours of February 28th 2010, a well-forecasted storm named Xynthia swept through France with powerful winds of 160km/h 90 miles, leaving a trail of devastation, and 53 victims. About half the French death toll was attributed to marine submersion and breach of the dilapidated and too low sea walls of La Faute-sur-Mer and l’Aiguillon-sur-Mer, allowing waves and sea waters to flood the villages, trapping people in their homes.
Four years after the deadly storm devastated part of France west coast, killing 29 people in La Faute sur Mer town, the trial opens.
5 weeks of hearings, more than 120 plaintiffs are to be heard in this lengthy trial.
5 peoples are indicted for aggravated manslaughter: the town’s mayor, two vice-mayors, an administrative official and a real estate agent. If held liable, they incur a maximum jail sentence of 5-years and a fine up to 75,000 Euros.
La Faute-sur-Mer and l’Aiguillon-sur-Mer beaches, Vendée, France; By Claire Le Guern
The very last day of February 2010. It is 4:00 am. Howling winds, whipping rains, infuriated seas, and eight meter high (26 feet) crashing waves, are muffling the desperate cries for help…4:00 am… Twenty nine human lives are being swept away, drowned in the frigid and salty ocean waters. They were in their sleep, in their beds, in the comfort of their home. They did not understand, they could not react, most of them too old, too frail, or much too little to run for safety and climb on the rooftops, like most of the survivors did. That very night, hundreds of survivors were trapped for hours, trembling with fear and piercing cold, in agony, and battered by rain and incomprehension. Only lit by the full moon, in the darkest night of their life, all were waiting for the emergency crews and help to arrive…