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Juigné-sur-Loire saves his children drowned from oblivion

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The inhabitants of Juignà © -sur-Loire gather on the banks of the Loire, where 19 children drowned in 1969, on July 18th. YVES TRà ‰ CA-DURAND

Some survivors have waited fifty years to take the path of the Pont-du-Magasin, this dusty trail that winds up to the river, in Juigné-sur-Loire (Maine-et-Loire). Chez François's guinguette has disappeared from the landscape, but there remains the august oak that bathes the bank of its centenary shade. Yesterday's children have become grandpas and grandmas. But they did not forget. Eyes red, they huddle together, a white rose in their hands.

Their throat is tied up as they release their memories of July 18, 1969. It was the time to taste it was so hot. They had left the Mà © rs-Erignà © recreation center for a five-kilometer walk in full swing that had given them sweats. The Loire was there, under their eyes, so fresh and so peaceful. The 76 children aged between 8 and 13 years insisted that the instructors, despite the instructions, gave birth.

Devastating water whirlpool

They were already forty in the water when the tip of the sandbank on which they progressed passed, throwing them into a vortex of devastating water. In panic, the monitors grabbed the arms and legs that were running in the stream, saving some children. A fisherman on his boat fired four of them, leaving a fifth. But, this fatal Friday, nineteen children disappeared in the waves.

Juigné's drama quickly passed the boundaries of the department. Pope Paul VI entrusted the small victims to God, while the President of the Republic, Georges Pompidou, claimed an investigation led "With tact and diligence".

On August 18 next, The Fraidieu, a boat-walk, ran on Lake Geneva, causing the drowning of twenty-four people, including fourteen girls from a recreation center who could not swim.

These two dramas accelerate the operation "1,000 swimming pools", created after the Olympic Games (Olympics) in Mexico (1968), after the results deceivers of tricolor swimmers. In 1969, France had only 408 municipal swimming pools (against 58 in 1958). Until 1980, the equipment and grow like mushrooms all over the country, such as the swimming Tournesol, amazing flying saucer nailed to the ground, built to 183 copies.