After the pain and anguish of yet another apparently mismanaged fishing boat accident, authorities have admitted that the four missing Portuguese fishermen off the coast of Figueira da Foz are “most likely dead inside their sunken boat”.
This will only be verified once the boat has been towed to shore.
Meantime, the criticisms of authorities’ response to the disaster off Praia do Cabedelo have multiplied – with locals, families and friends all saying much more could have been done, much more quickly.
Maritime authorities have been quick to counter that none of the fishermen involved were wearing life-vests, and that the manoeuvre made by the captain “to approach one of the most dangerous sandbanks in the country in rough sea” was folly.
For now, the funeral of the only crewmember whose body has been recovered is due to go ahead later today.
The wreck, which happened on Tuesday night just after 7pm, saw two brothers managing to escape in a life raft. Paulo and Adriano Conceição have said since their rescue that they saw their fellow crewmembers entering the cabin when the Olívia Ribau was “swallowed” by the churning waters.
Paulo has told newspapers that it took the air force helicopter dispatched to the scene two hours to arrive – a delay he and many others say is simply unacceptable.