Searches continue for young teen ‘missing off Algarve coast’ 

Girl disappeared on paddleboard; unable to paddle due to strong wind

Searches have been going on all night and this morning for the 17-year-old girl who went missing off Praia do Coelho, Vila Real de Santo António yesterday, while paddleboarding.

According to reports, the girl ‘froze’ (entered into panic/ didn’t use her oar) as she realised the offshore wind was carrying her further and further out to sea.

Her father realised what was happening and threw himself into the water to try and reach her.

The man was unable to overtake the pace at which the board was moving.

Reports say nothing about what he may have shouted at his daughter by way of advice (the cardinal rule in circumstances like these being ‘stay on your board at all costs’).

The incident was called into authorities early evening, with searches beginning around 8.30pm.

VRSA and Tavira ports captain João Afonso Martins tells reporters everything is being done to try and locate the youngster. Twenty operatives worked through the night, using seven ‘means in the water’ (boats/ jet skis), as well as an Air Force helicopter, a Spanish search and rescue boat (VRSA being on the border with Spain) and sundry GNR/ Civil Protection patrols.

Circumstances were against them, however, as there is no moon at the moment. Visibility was extremely limited, said Martins.

Today all hopes are pinned on the girl’s safe recovery as all means of rescue scrambled remain in place, and the search area has been extended east into Spain and as far west as Faro.

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