19 people drowned this year during Portugal’s bathing season (running from May 1 to October 15).
Of the toll, only three people died on beaches with lifeguards.
Eleven lost their lives on what are known as ‘unsupervised beaches’, while five died on beaches that at the time had no lifeguard cover (ie the swimmers may have been in water outside normal ‘beachtime hours’).
Releasing the figures today – two days after the extended season closed (a number of beaches in the Algarve saw lifeguards continuing through to October 15) – the maritime authority reports that during summer months 502 people were ‘rescued’ after getting into difficulties in the water and 786 received ‘actions of first aid’.
As to the causes of the deaths, only 12 were from drowning. Seven resulted from ‘sudden attacks’ as swimmers were in the water.
In none of the cases were there any children.
15 of the fatalities were men, four were women.
By sad coincidence the first and last victims died on beaches that are next to each other, both in the borough of Sines.
The first victim was a Moldavian man, aged 46, on Praia dos Alteirinhos. The last was a British couple – the woman of which was reportedly four months pregnant with their second child – at Zambujeira do Mar (click here).