Stormy seas hamper search for bodies off Sintra coast

Air and sea searches for the five fishermen lost in a freak accident off the Sintra coast last week have now been called off.

As debris from the Santa Maria dos Anjos continues to wash up on local beaches, coast guards confirmed that the only searches now are taking place on land.

On Monday morning, a massive tangle of netting from the boat – filled with debris, including metal buckets and railings – washed up on nearby Praia Grande. It was removed to Almoçageme fire station for examination.

But to date, there has been no sign of the bodies of the missing men, and the rough seas that hampered searches from the outset continue to batter the coastline.

In the fishing community of Caxinas, Vila do Conde – the hometown of the missing men – a special mass in their memory was scheduled for Tuesday evening at 6.30pm.

Meantime, the only survivor of the disaster has been talking to newspapers and vowing to return to the sea once he has put the horror of last week behind him.

27-year-old crewmember Henri Ferreira explained that none of the fishermen were wearing life jackets when their boat turned turtle in rough seas in the early hours of last Wednesday morning. This – and the fact that they were all effectively trapped within the boat as it sank – explains the tragic loss of life.

By NATASHA DONN natasha.donn@algarveresident.com