Indignation in Olhão as sea search for missing fishermen is suspended

Relatives of the two Olhão fishermen lost at sea for more than 10 days now have spoken out against the decision to suspend air and sea searches.

“They are not dogs to be left at the bottom of the sea!” Hélder Cruz, the brother of Nélson Cruz, 37 – who set out to catch octopus with Emo Manso, 58, on December 9 – told Correio da Manhã newspaper.

“The searches should continue. I think they should have tried harder too, because if it had been the President of the Republic, there would have been thousands of people looking. But as it was my brother, no one took any notice,” he lamented.

It’s a point of view that is not shared by Faro ports authority chief Malaquias Domingues, who told Correio da Manhã that “all the means used (in the searches) were adequate”.
But if nothing has been found by midday today, rescue efforts will be scaled back and integrated within the “normal day-to-day” activities of coastguard patrols, he added.
Nelson Cruz and Emo Manso set out in the Rainha da Brisa early on the morning of Monday December 9. The boat has since been reported to have had engine trouble in the past, and to have been “unreliable” – but all that anyone can say for sure is that the two men did not return at 3pm in the afternoon as planned, and nothing has been heard of them or from them ever since.

A float that is believed to have come from the boat was washed up on the shore miles down the coast at Meia Praia near Lagos days ago, but since then rescue workers have retrieved nothing from increasingly choppy waters.

As maritime authorities up and down the country are on orange alert today (December 19), Malaquias Domingues analysed the extent of the searches to date, saying the seabed had been minutely scanned over an area of 3.5 square kilometres.