By CECÍLIA PIRES
A GERMAN tourist has died and another is missing, feared dead, after they were swept out to sea while visiting the cliffs at Forte de Beliche near Sagres.
Romana Schroeder’s body was recovered within 50 minutes of her entering the water on Saturday afternoon and is now at the Legal Medicine Institute for an autopsy. She was 30 years old.
Maritime Police have continued searching for Olaf Vopel, 41, since he disappeared at the same time.
It is understood that he was a parachutist who has been visiting the Algarve for last few years to participate in the Parachuting Festival, which was to happen at the weekend but was cancelled on Friday due to the weather.
Commander Marques Pereira, from the Lagos and Portimão Maritime authority, told The Resident on Monday that the search operation has entered a less intensive level, with the rescue boats passing through the location at low tide only.
According to reports, the couple were part of a bigger group who decided to visit the Sagres area and take pictures of the landscape.
It seems that while trying to get the best picture they didn’t realise the dangerous situation they were in. The alarm was raised at 2 pm.
“A warning sign would be useful at that location,” said Commander Marques Pereira, adding: “This is an area of some risks where the nature is not controlled by man.”
At the time of the accident, the region was on the Orange alert from the Instituto de Meteorologia, the weather authority.
The sea had three to five metre waves and there was a strong wind and heavy rain all weekend.
The area where the tragedy happened is considered very dangerous and has been abandoned since the Pousadas de Portugal closed the fortress there in 1999, due to the risk of fall from the cliffs.
However, the beauty of the coast continues to attract many tourists who risk descending down the cliffs.