Just a few moments was all it took yesterday (Sunday) afternoon for a 10-year-old boy to disappear from sight on São Torpes beach, in Sines.
The child’s panic-stricken father wasted no time calling emergency services, which arrived within five minutes, reports tabloid Correio da Manhã today.
But there was nothing to be done.
Beachgoers who realised what was happening the minute the boy’s father raised the alarm leapt into the waves, and they were backed up by Maritime Police in a launch, firefighters and an Air Force helicopter shortly afterwards.
Searches continued with the use of police craft and jetskis until nightfall.
Due to resume once more today, the child’s identity has not yet been released.
This is likely to be the sixth tragedy this month on beaches not yet protected by any form of lifeguard cover – due to the tradition of only declaring Portugal’s ‘bathing season’ open for business from June 1.
Authorities are already rethinking the employment period for ‘summertime lifeguards’, with Algarve tourism boss Desidério Silva saying he is keen to see beaches ‘protected’ long before June 1.