Beach tragedy as summer temperatures belie autumn currents

Couple die after being caught up in riptide on unsupervised beach near Aveiro

A couple died yesterday in a riptide on Praia da Mira, near Aveiro (in the north).

According to a shocked eye-witnesses on yet another unseasonably hot day, “they were duped by the smooth sea”.

58-year-old Isilda Calameu and her husband António Costa Santos, 62, were regular beachgoers, according to reports.

Yesterday, Isilda went in for a dip and was “taken by a small wave”. She called for help straight away to her husband on the shore, who went straight in. “But he too was dragged” by the undertow, and both were tragically carried out to sea where they drowned.

The alert went out instantly (as there were people on the beach), but because life-guards are no longer on the majority of the country’s beaches, it will have taken vital minutes for firefighters to arrive.

The couple were rescued from the water – but reanimation efforts proved fruitless. By the time INEM paramedics arrived, the only task left was to ‘declare’ the deaths.

October’s baking temperatures are due to break tomorrow, thus tragedies like these should be less likely.

Aveiro’s ports commander Conceição Dias has told reporters that life-threatening incidents happen too often. Just a few days ago, a Dutch paraglider landed in the sea and “got into difficulties” in Praia da Cruz, a little further north. Luckily, in his case, rescue came in time.

Writer’s note: Surfers in Aveiro have produced a video on how to survive being caught up in a riptide. The advice is always “let it take you; float, do not fight the current” until such time as you find yourself able to swim ‘out of it’ and parallel with the sea shore. The video explains that riptides often manifest to those who do not understand them as ‘flat sea’, and this is why so many people get caught up in them; they find themselves choosing to swim in spots that are actually the most dangerous. “Lack of waves can be synonymous with a riptide”, says the advice.

Source material: Correio da Manhã/