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Elderly couple drown as car plunges into Aveiro estuary

Fisherman Vítor Pinho has revealed the fateful last moments of driver Aurora Pinto whose car disappeared under the waters of the Aveiro estuary on Sunday afternoon, killing her and her long-term companion Manuel Jacinto Cunha, 84.

“I still have the image of her in my head,” Pinho told tabloid Correio da Manhã, explaining that although the 75-year-old woman was “banging on the window and asking for help”, he couldn’t do anything as he “doesn’t know how to swim”.

“I have been really upset by that image,” he added. “I couldn’t do anything to save her.”

An off-duty firemen witnessed the accident and tried to rescue the couple, to no avail.

The reason for the tragic plunge is still unclear, although CM says locals are aware of the dangers of the spot in São Jacinto and have asked for safety barriers to be erected.

In February this year another driver, 59-year-old Henrique Matos, is reported to have died after his car disappeared into the water in exactly the same place.

Yesterday’s accident happened at around 2.30pm. The couple, described as devoted to each other, “never went out alone”.

The drive is believed to have been a typical Sunday outing that just went horribly wrong.

By the time firemen arrived at the scene, the Peugeot 206 was already three metres down on the riverbed and there was no possibility of saving either occupant.

Divers removed the bodies from the car before it was winched to the surface.

The couple’s bodies were then transported to Aveiro’s office of legal medicine.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com