A man, 32, has been acquitted of the jet ski death of a Benalmadena waitress in the Costa del Sol. Noelia Perez, 24, was travelling on a jet ski with the man, whose first name is Francisco, when they fell in the sea off the coast of Benalmadena in July 2009.
Her family – from the Basque Country – had brought proceedings against him for reckless use of a jet ski.
Noelia was at the beach with work colleague Monica and some regular customers of the bar at which she worked who had invited them to go out on a trip. The group hired a sail boat and four jet-skis.
Noelia and Francisco separated from the rest of the group a few kilometres from the coast. Both fell in the water in the same spot and were unable to get back on the jet ski. Neither of them was wearing life jackets and the other people on the ship went back to shore not noticing they were gone.
The group became concerned when it got dark and there was still no sign of them, and alerted the port authorities. Francisco claimed that when it got dark, Noelia decided to try to swim to the shore as they could see the lights in the distance.
At around 2am a Malaga-Ceuta ferry alerted the coast guards that they had spotted a man in the sea around seven kilometres from the coast.
The victim was not found until two days later off the coast of Motril, 45 miles from where the accident occurred.
Tests showed that Francisco had not been drinking and an autopsy revealed that Noelia died from hypothermia.
CAPTION FOTO 1 DENTRO DE 2 CAPTION: Puerto Marina where the victim worked. Inset: Noelia Perez