Three dead, one missing as fishing boat sinks off Figueira da Foz

The bodies of three fishermen have been recovered following the sinking of a fishing boat off Figueira da Foz in the early hours of yesterday morning. One crew member remains missing.
Searches are still ongoing as authorities try to establish what led to the tragedy.

But as theories are considered, fishing cooperative president Jerónimo Rato has launched a broadside at the delay in actioning emergency air support.

He said that if a helicopter had been sent out along with the first rescue boats, there “may have been” survivors.

This is by no means certain, and today’s efforts are to try and locate not only the wreckage of the Veneza, but the body of its master, Orlando Fonseca, 55.

According to reports, the boat did not send out a distress call. The alert came from emergency position-indicating radio beacons around 4am. (These become actioned in various situations, but usually involving contact with water.)

Says Correio da Manhã, the beacons only give an approximate location, with a nautical mile margin of error. The first rescue craft “found nothing”, said the paper – and “even suspected a false alarm”.

It wasn’t until over four hours later that the first two bodies were found 11 nautical miles off the coast – and then in the afternoon the third body was sighted.

As for the Veneza, it is almost certainly at the bottom of the sea. Divers are being employed today, along with sonar and ‘remote submarine’ devices, the paper adds, revealing that two habitual crewmembers were absent from the boat when it went down, due to training courses.

Both men have been described as “inconsolable”, recalling their fishermen colleagues as their “second family”.

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