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Holidaymakers drown in “golpe do mar” on Aljezur beach

Two Spanish holidaymakers died yesterday (Thursday) after being swept out to sea at Praia do Amado near Aljezur in freak conditions described as a “golpe do mar”.

The strong waves and current meant that “nobody could do anything to save them”, an eye witness has told the Resident.

Lagos Ports captain Pedro Carvalho Pinto told Correio da Manhã that the lifeguard in the area “tried to reach them on a surfboard, but couldn’t manage it”.

He said the swimmers were taken by a “golpe do mar” (literally, a strike by the sea) and “ended up in difficulties”.

The man and woman, described by CM as aged 47 and 50, were eventually recovered by surfers, both by this time unconscious.

INEM and local firemen attempted CPR but deaths were declared at the scene.

The bodies were transported to Portimão’s coroner’s office.

Spanish tourist Javier Alvarez Riquelme was on Amado beach at the time, and has told the Resident that he was amazed at the lack of beach support in the area.

“We didn’t see anyone on the beach from civil protection or paramedics, despite the fact that the beach was full of beginner surfers from different schools.

“We are wondering how it is possible that something like this could happen? Are authorities doing enough to warn people of these conditions,” he asked.

The answer appears to be that while the beach has lifeguard cover, the area where the Spanish men got into difficulties was to the north of the beach, “in an area that is not supervised”, writes CM.

CM adds however that when the couple was recovered, they “found themselves in a supervised area”.

The truth, very possibly, is that the west coast of Portugal is notorious for its currents and strong waves, and any swimmers should be on their guard there at all times.

Families with young children are advised always to accompany them in the water and never venture out of depth.

Reading our report, Javier Riquelme got in touch to say that as far as he was concerned, the couple set off from the middle of the beach, well within the so-called supervised area.

“In my opinion this was a terrible accident that could have been avoided”, he said.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com