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Plucky female lifeguard saves burly ex-cop from drowning

A plucky young female lifeguard is being a heroine after she rescued a burly retired Irish cop from drowning.

Vera Ribeiro is one of the few lifeguards left on Portuguese beaches at this time of year. She saw the unnamed former policeman being “pulled by the current” while on duty at Albufeira’s São Rafael beach last Wednesday.

By the time she reached him, “he was starting to panic”.

The diminutive rescuer told reporters: “I told him to remain calm and just go with the current beside me. Only later were we able to start getting out of the water.”

The fact that both of them faced danger hardly registered, said the physical education teacher from Gondomar, as she was “totally focused on getting the man back to shore safely”.

Once she did, “he gave me a long hug. That was the most important part”, the young woman told reporters.

As papers have been stressing, the so-called bathing season is technically over, although warm temperatures still see many people on the beaches.

In São Rafael last Wednesday, Vera Ribeiro and colleagues were watching over as many as 200.

In fact it has been because of the weather that employing company AquaForm decided to keep its lifeguards on longer than usual – a decision that one lucky Irishman will no doubt never forget.