Two tourists die while swimming at unsupervised beaches

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Two tourists died while swimming at unsupervised beaches in Aljezur and Lagos on May 23.

Portimão Maritime Police Commander Cruz Martins told the Algarve Resident: “The first victim was a 78-year-old German citizen, who died when he was swimming at a beach near Meia Praia in the municipality of Lagos.”

Cruz Martins said the victim was rescued by a lifeguard from another beach concessionary nearby, which was already operating despite the official bathing season only starting in the area on June 1. The tourist was then assisted by INEM emergency services who pronounced him dead at the scene.

The second victim, a 52-year-old Dutchman, was found floating in the sea at Vale Figueiras beach in Aljezur municipality.

The Maritime Police Commander said: “We suspect both tourists died due to sudden illness while they were swimming. The deaths have not been caused by drowning.”

He went on to warn bathers of the risks of swimming at unsupervised beaches. “Despite our warnings, people continue to act recklessly and opt to go to beaches that are not supervised by lifeguards,” he said.

“The bathing season opens in Lagos and Aljezur on June 1 and, from that date, designated beaches will be supervised by lifeguards.”

A spokesman for the Dutch Embassy in Lisbon told the Algarve Resident: “The Embassy has received the official confirmation of the accident involving the Dutch citizen. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been informed and appropriate measures will be taken but, at this stage, the Embassy can make no further statement.”

At time of going to press, no one from the German Embassy in Lisbon was available to comment.

The bodies were taken to Portimão’s Institute of Legal Medicine for autopsies to be carried out.

Meanwhile, Albufeira’s official bathing season opened on May 14 with a series of events at Praia dos Pescadores to raise awareness among bathers of the potential dangers of the sea.

The programme of events, prepared by Albufeira Câmara in conjunction with the Maritime Police and the Institute for Sea Rescue Operations (ISN), included simulated sea rescue operations with Algarve lifeguards.

Speaking about the 20 Blue Flags the council achieved this year, Mayor Desidério Silva said: “Our beaches have excellent quality and the Blue Flag record this year reflects our work and commitment to provide the best conditions for beachgoers.

“Over the years, we have been developing a programme to improve the quality of our beaches, access facilities, support infrastructures and safety measures for beachgoers. The investment in this area will be maintained and we hope to achieve more Blue Flags next year”.