Screenshot of clip on searches taking place - La Voz de Galicia

Father and 10-year-old son die in Minho river

Tragedy prompted by loss of flip-flop

A 42-year-old father and his 10-year-old son died this weekend in the Minho River.

The father was rescued from the water yesterday evening, dying shortly afterwards, while the body of the child was taken by the current and only found today (Sunday), roughly 500 metres from the river beach of Arbo on the Spanish side of the river.

The two victims were Spanish, from Vigo. They had been enjoying a day by the water with the rest of the family (mother and eight-year-old daughter) when the boy lost a flip-flop, and went back into the water to retrieve it.

The father reportedly started by ‘holding his hand’ as the child reached for the sandal – and then they were both suddenly swept away.

La Voz de Galicia newspaper explains the section of the river is treacherous. “The river goes down at full speed, in a frenetic succession of rapids, twists and turns, backwaters and whirlpools. There are several deep pools and the riverbed is dotted with ‘pesqueiras’ for capturing lampreys. Visibility from the outside is minimal and under the surface there are caves carved by water into the stone over the years. All this mixture made the search for the child’s body very difficult. It was expected the investigation would be long. One hypothesis was that the body could have washed down the river for several kilometres”.

As it was, the body was found in three metres depth of water about 500 metres from the scene of the tragedy which happened shortly after 6pm (Portuguese time) yesterday. 

Searches for the boy were called off after night fell. His body was only recovered at 3pm this afternoon.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com