By: CECÍLIA PIRES
DIVING OPERATIONS to search for Madeleine McCann’s body in the Arade dam, near Silves, will restart on Monday, March 10.
The operation is being financially supported by Sociedade Portuguesa de Engenharia e Construção, Lda (SPEC), the Portuguese engineering and construction society.
SPEC considered the leads received by the Madeira-based lawyer, Marcos Aragão Pereira, credible and the initiative “a noble act in the defence of children”.
Mr Aragão, who commissioned the first phase of the dam searches in January and February, is also organising next week’s operation.
He told The Resident: “SPEC’s contact was given to me by a close friend from Portimão.”
The diving team will this time consist of seven divers, five from Lagos and two from Portimão. Search operations will again be directed by Martin Falkous, from Dive Time, the diving company based in Lagos that was also involved in the first phase of the Arade dam searches.
The search will start near the dam’s control tower and divers will be widening their search of the Arade lake from the water tower in the direction of the flood gate.
The dam’s maximum depth is 46 metres and on May 3, when Madeleine went missing, it had a depth of 40 metres, based on Mr Aragão’s official records.
The reservoir is currently 24 to 26 metres deep at its deepest point, as a result of several water discharges and a dry winter. Divers believe the water level will help the search operations.
Marcos Aragão said: “The Madeleine Fund is not supporting the diving operation because it has limited resources and, as the family believes Madeleine is alive, they will keep on supporting leads that may take them to their living daughter.”
Metodo 3, the Barcelona-based private investigation company hired by the McCanns, is aware of the operation in the Arade dam “as it was aware of the one held in January”, Mr Aragão told The Resident.
“We cross check information with them. The tip-off I received has been confirmed with information from Metodo 3.”
He gave the example of a “truck driver who, on May 5, witnessed a woman in Silves transferring a child wrapped up in a blanket from her car to another vehicle driven by a man showing an aggressive behaviour.”
Mr Aragão refused to reveal further details on the leads he is pursuing, explaining that “the information will be revealed in due time as it is not safe to release it at this moment.”
As in previous instances, the police teams investigating the Madeleine McCann case were informed about next week’s search operation, however, “the police have not shown much interest”, said Marcos Aragão.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Madeleine McCann, please contact the McCann helpline on 0034 902 300 213 or the Portuguese Police on 00351 282 405 400.
Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]