Dam finally gives up body of missing Brit
Almost three weeks since he fell from a banana boat ride on Santa Clara dam in the Alentejo, the body of missing 29-year-old Brit Richard Chapelow was found early on Saturday morning, purportedly by an employee of one of the estates running up to the water’s edge.
Recovered by firefighters who only last week called off their searches, it has now been transported to Beja Hospital for autopsy.
The discovery has finally brought closure on so much distress.
Chapelow was the guest of property tycoon Jon Hunt who is described as owning a number of properties in the area.
Theories are that he must have been knocked unconscious as he hit the water, and drowned.
Why the body was so difficult to find is unclear, but visibility in the water is practically zero thus divers had a particularly difficult job.
On the day of the accident, Jon Hunt and Richard Chapelow’s family issued a statement describing their devastation and stressing that they would be working with the authorities to try and discover what had gone so tragically wrong.
Local reports said the speedboat pulling the inflatable ‘banana’ was not going particularly fast when it flipped over.
Chapelow was one of four enjoying a ride.
“Three swam back to the boat, one was not seen again”, reported TVI24.
Searches went ahead for 17 days and involved more than 50 rescue personnel each day, some on land, others in boats as well as specially trained divers.