An emergency situation has been announced following the 5th drowning at a beach without lifeguard cover in the space of just three days.
Marines with special lifeguard training are now to be drafted in to help Maritime Police until the ‘beach season’ gets started in June.
Diário de Notícias reports nonetheless that people are being warned against swimming on the country’s wild west coast from Costa Caparica as far as Nazaré, and against walking too close to the water.
As the paper explains, three of the drownings on May 1 involved people who hadn’t been in the water when they were swept to their deaths by waves (click here).
Risks have been exacerbated by the unusually warm temperatures (encouraging people onto beaches in the first place) coupled by an “adverses sea” with deep trenches causing waves, in some cases, to crash right at the water’s edge.
DN says marines will not be substituting lifeguards, but “helping ports captains” in awareness initiatives, trying to impress on people the dangers they could be facing.
The move comes after tragic news yesterday in Ericeira where two young men, aged 21 and 23, went into the water for a swim, and only one came back to shore.
“The pair got into trouble as a result of the force of the current”, explains Correio da Manhã.
Maritime police immediately started searches, backed up by a helicopter, but early today there was still no sign of the missing swimmer.