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Showjumping groom dies in lorry fire on Sunshine Tour

A showjumping groom has died in a fire at the Sunshine Tour in Vejer de la Frontera, Spain, today (18 March).

At around 6.30am local time, a rider’s lorry caught fire. At the time, freelance groom Vicente Quinta Sanchez was inside the living area of the lorry where the fire broke out and has passed away.

A statement issued today by the organising committee of the Sunshine Tour read: “The organising committee here at the Sunshine Tour, led by the Blázquez family, wishes to send their deepest sympathy and sadness to the family and friends of Vicente at this tragic time.”

Both Caroline and Trevor Breen have been competing at this hugely popular show and it was one of their grooms who discovered smoke coming out of the horsebox and did a sterling job alerting and moving as many people from in and around the horsebox park to safety.

“My girls were among the first to arrive at the show that morning; they went to the bathroom after feeding the horses and saw the smoke and flames coming from the truck but couldn’t get in,” Caroline told H&H.

“The authorities arrived about 20 minutes later and really sadly they discovered the groom inside the truck. It’s so tragic.”

The sixth week of competition on the Sunshine Tour is due to start tomorrow (19 March). According to the organisers, flags on the showground are to be flown at half-mast and will remain so until the end of the tour. Competition will be halted at 12pm local time on Tuesday for a minute’s silence in honour of the memory of Vicente.

The cause of the fire is as yet unknown.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports from all disciplines, interviews, features, training and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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