Almeria honours the Red Duchess

Ayuntamiento de Cuevas del Almanzora
COMMEMORATION: The street in memory of Luisa Isabel Álvarez de Toledo

THE Town Hall of Cuevas del Almanzora has commemorated a street in memory of Mrs Luisa Isabel Álvarez de Toledo who defended the interests of residents in Palomares after the nuclear accident of 1966.

The “Calle XXI Duchess of Medina Sidonia” in Palomares honours the “Red Duchess”, as the people of Palomares called Mrs Álvarez de Toledo, who was arrested and imprisoned for leading a citizens demonstration in defence of farmers rights to be compensated for contamination after the accident.

The 1966 Palomares B-52 crash, or the Palomares incident, occurred on 17 January 1966 when an American B-52 bomber collided with a tanker during mid-air refuelling at 31,000 feet (9,450 m) over the Mediterranean Sea. The B-52 broke apart, killing three of the seven crew members aboard.

Of the four Mk28-type hydrogen bombs the plane carried, three were discovered on land near Palomares. The non-nuclear explosives in two of the weapons detonated upon impact with the ground, resulting in the contamination of a 2-square-kilometre area by plutonium. The fourth, which fell into the Mediterranean Sea, was recovered intact after a two and a half month long search.

Mayor Antonio Fernández Liria accompanied representatives of the Casa Medina Sidonia Foundation, researcher Pepe Herrera and neighbours at the unveiling of the street plaque in her honour.