A 26-year-old German tourist was rescued in the early hours of this morning, after he fell during a cliff walk along the coast near Odemira.
The young man told rescuers afterwards that he had strayed from the official Rota Vicentina path as he thought he saw a fisherman get into trouble.
As it was, the man could have died before his ‘disappearance’ was noticed, Marta Cabral, executive director of Rota Vicentina, told Sulinformação.
He was almost certainly saved by the fact that his fallen rucksack was spied by another fisherman.
“He could have spent the whole night without anyone noticing him, and I don’t know whether he would have survived his multiple fractures,” said Cabral.
Rescue services were alerted shortly before 10pm (the man fell some time after 8pm) and a delicate winching operation set in motion, completed around six hours later.
The injured walker was transported to the Alentejo’s Hospital do Litoral Alentejano, but due to his condition, he may well be transferred to Lisbon’s trauma hospital S. José, explains Sulinformação, describing his injuries as fractures to his arms and legs that will heal with “time and patience”.
Rota Vicentina personnel visited the young man in hospital, adds the website – stressing the message that anyone walking coastal paths should stick to them carefully.
The area (Praia dos Machados) where the accident happened is 80-100 metres above the sea, and flanked by scrubland and areas where access is difficult.
As to the fisherman that the young man thought he saw getting into difficulties, maritime police have been looking for him, writes Sulinformação, and suspect it may well have been a false alarm.