Fernando Garfella Palmer

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Fernando Garfella Palmer
Born(1989-08-09)9 August 1989
Died9 August 2020(2020-08-09) (aged 31)
Dragonera, Spain
OccupationDocumentary filmmaker
Employer(s)Bogar Films
Proactiva Open Arms

Fernando Garfella Palmer (9 August 1989 – 9 August 2020)[1] was a Spanish documentary filmmaker, known for his documentaries about the marine life of the Balearic Islands and for his collaboration with the NGO Proactiva Open Arms.[2]


Garfella was born in Mallorca, Spain. He was the grandson of the painter Fernando Garfella and elder brother of the journalist Carlos Garfella.[2] Growing up surrounded by the sea, he began diving in his childhood and turned it into his career over time, founding the documentary production company Bogar Films, for which he made approximately 900 dives in the Balearic Islands and their surroundings. In his documentaries he managed to capture images of endangered species such as the pearly razorfish[3] and the long-snouted seahorse,[4] among others.

As a documentarian and rescue worker, Garfella was associated with the NGO Proactiva Open Arms, constantly participating in the rescues of migrants from North Africa to the Spanish coasts.[2] He was also one of the originators and promoters of the Dragonera marine reserve and frequently collaborated with Mallorca Blue, an online platform dedicated to denouncing attacks on the marine environment in the Balearic Islands.[5]

Disappearance and death[edit]

While making one of his regular dives near Dragonera on 9 August 2020, Garfella was swept away by a strong current at a depth of over 80 metres (260 ft). His girlfriend, seeing that he did not surface, alerted a fellow diver, who tried unsuccessfully to rescue Garfella but suffered decompression sickness and had to be rushed by ambulance to the Juaneda Clinic in Palma de Mallorca.[6][7] The Underwater Activities Special Group (Grupo Especial de Actividades Subacuáticas) of the Civil Guard initiated an exhaustive search for Garfella's body.[1][2][8] On 11 August 2020, Garfella's body was recovered by GEAS at a depth of 92 metres (302 ft). The body was transported to the Port of Sóller.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Muere el submarinista Fernando Garfella durante una inmersión al norte de Mallorca" [The diver Fernando Garfella dies during a dive in the north of Mallorca]. El Confidencial (in Spanish). 10 August 2020. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d Manresa, Andreu (10 August 2020). "Fernando Garfella no salió del mar" [Fernando Garfella did not come out of the sea]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  3. ^ Manresa, Andreu (19 November 2014). "La vida secreta del raor, peix mític" [The secret life of the Pearly Razorfish, mythical fish]. El País (in Catalan). Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  4. ^ Manresa, Andreu (15 October 2015). "El peix invisible dit cavallet de la mar" [The invisible seahorse-fish of the sea]. El País (in Catalan). Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  5. ^ Oliver, Penélope (10 August 2020). "Fernando Garfella, el hombre que acercó el mar a la sociedad" [Fernando Garfella, the man who brought the sea closer to society]. Diario de Mallorca (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  6. ^ Oliver, Penélope (10 August 2020). "Así fue el rescate del amigo de Fernando Garfella" [This was the rescue of Fernando Garfella's friend]. Diario de Mallorca (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  7. ^ elmuldo (9 August 2020). "Fernando Garfella Palmer, the best underwater documentary maker in the Balearic Islands, dies diving off the coast of Andratx". Teller Report. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Fernando Garfella: Muere buceando el documentalista submarino de renombre en Mallorca" [Fernando Garfella: The renowned underwater documentary filmmaker dies diving in Mallorca]. La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 10 August 2020. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  9. ^ elmuldo (11 August 2020). "The lifeless body of the diver and documentary filmmaker Fernando Garfella Palmer is recovered at a depth of 92 meters". Teller Report. Retrieved 13 August 2020.

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