As maritime police prepared a reconstruction of the tragic night at Praia do Meco last Sunday when seven university students were pulled into the sea by a rogue wave that has claimed the life of at least one of them and left five others missing, news emerged that one of the victims was a rugby star from Loulé.
Andreia Revéz, 21 – described by neighbours as “very nice, studious, modest and a great sportswoman” – began playing for the Rugby Clube de Loulé in 2007 and was known at university for being “a real toughie”, reports CMTV.
For the grandparents who looked after her in Cerro Guerreiro, near Loulé, the desperate news is compounded by the fact that only last year Andreia’s father was killed in a motorbike accident.
“It’s a complete tragedy for the family,” neighbour Manuel Simão told Correio da Manhã.
The Revéz’s Algarve home is currently empty and Andreia’s grandparents are understood to be in Sesimbra, waiting with families of the other victims for any news from rescue teams scouring the water at Praia do Meco.
CMTV reported that maritime police are planning the reconstruction of the tragedy to try and determine what the seven students were doing at the moment they were pulled into the sea.
The only survivor, João Gouveia, has told how he was never out of his depth but that he felt a fierce undertow pulling him away from the shore. Gouveia, 23, managed to stagger out of the water and make it back to dry land, but then had to call emergency services from a nearby phone booth. The students were reportedly all wearing their university gowns, which would have seriously hampered their escape from turbulent waters.
As the Algarve Resident went to press, the only body so far recovered was that of 21-year-old Tiago Campos from Odivelas.
The other missing students, all in their 20s and attending different courses at the Universidade Lusófona in Lisbon, were Catarina Soares from Barreiro, Pedro Negrão from Lisbon, Carina Sanchez from Fernão Ferro and Joana Barroso from Santiago de Cacém.
In a detailed report on the conditions at Praia do Meco – notorious for rogue waves – Correio da Manhã described how the constant force of the waves has created an underwater trench that makes it very difficult for swimmers to get back to shore.
Photo: Family and friends desperately hope for a miracle as five students are still missing