By: RUTH SHARPE
A YOUNG couple from Vila do Bispo were killed on the EN125 on the evening of January 7, after their motorcycle collided with a tractor travelling in the same direction.
The accident took place near the junction at Vale do Boi, close to the village of Budens, half way between Lagos and Sagres. Ricardo Jesus, 22, and girlfriend Andreia Salvador, 25 were both employees of the Parque da Floresta golf and leisure resort. Ricardo was part of the gardening team and Andreia worked at reception.
The details surrounding the accident are still not clear. The collision happened at 6.34pm when the high speed motorbike collided with the back of a tractor that was travelling in the same direction. As it was dark, there is speculation that the motorbike did not see the tractor.
The bike collided with the steel blades of the implement attached to the back of the tractor, believed to be a cultivator. Both Ricardo and Andreia died immediately, despite the quick attention of the Vila do Bispo bombeiros.
Vila do Bispo GNR arrived on the scene soon after and sealed off the area, closing the EN125 in both directions. As the extent of the crash became apparent, locals from Budens began to congregate at the scene learning the fate of their friends.
Andreia was a resident of Sagres and Ricardo of Budens, both close-knit villages that were thrown into grief at the shocking news. The couple were heading home for a family dinner after spending the afternoon together.
Residents from Budens crowded the scene of the accident, where the bodies lay covered with a white sheet until 8.30pm. The bodies were then transported to the Portimão Institute of Legal Medicine where autopsies were to be carried out.
The driver of the tractor was left unharmed and witnesses at the scene claim he tried to flee, but was stopped by cars that had pulled over realising what had happened.
The Vila do Bispo GNR spoke to The Resident and confirmed that the exact cause of death has not yet been announced. The tractor driver’s details will not be revealed until after the completion of the forensic analysis, as will any charges against the driver.
The tractor was immediately taken from the scene and is now under the charge of the Secção de Investagação do Destacamento de Albufeira da Brigada de Trânsito, who sent a team to clear away the debris and will hopefully bring to light the circumstances that caused the incident.
By 10pm, the bombeiros had cleared the area and the section of road was reopened.
On Monday there was a GNR presence throughout the day, stopping cars to ask for any witnesses to come forward. As there were no immediate witnesses to the collision, the fault of the incident is unknown.
The Parque da Floresta flags were flown at half mast in the days following the accident and many of the staff members were noticeably shaken from the event.
A large part of the Parque da Floresta team is made up from residents of the neighbouring town of Budens and many lived and worked closely with the couple, both of which lived with their families in Budens and Sagres.
Mark McFadden, Vigia Group Managing Director released the following statement:
“On behalf of the shareholders, directors and their colleagues at the Vigia Group I would like to offer our sincere condolences and heartfelt sympathies to Andreia and Ricardo’s families and everybody close to them. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time.
“We’re all deeply saddened by this terrible tragedy and both Andreia and Ricardo will be hugely missed by those that knew and worked with them at Parque da Floresta.”
The long straight stretch of the EN125 where the accident happened is often the scene of speeding and dangerous overtaking, resulting in many serious accidents. The collision was only a few hundred metres away from where one young motorcyclist died in 2004.
The Vila do Bispo and Lagos areas have suffered from motor bike related injuries and deaths over recent years. One such was 17-year-old Rosco Schrummans who was killed in a motorbike accident in November 2004 near Barão de São João.
His parents started a foundation in honour of their son – the Rosco Foundation.