According to Roger Chessell, a Xagħra resident, the Azure Window collapsed around 9.40am yesterday. ‘There was a big raging sea beneath the window,’ he told the Times of Malta. ‘Suddenly, the arch collapsed into the sea with a loud whoomph, throwing up a huge spray. By the time the spray had faded, the stack had gone too.’
Maltese people are in shock. Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat described the news as ‘heart-breaking’, while Gozo Minister Anton Refalo likened the event to ‘losing a part of yourself’. Questions are already being asked of how this tragedy might have been avoided. In a press conference given yesterday, Environment Minister Jose Herrera said several studies had shown that no man-made intervention could have prevented the collapse.
Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis described the window as a marketing asset that had now been lost, but expressed confidence that Gozitan tourism would weather the blow. From its ancient religious buildings to its stunning beaches and excellent diving, Malta will no doubt continue to attract visitors, although Culture Trip will have to update our list of Top 10 Things to See and Do on this charming Mediterranean gem.