British woman, 33, who drowned off a Portuguese beach alongside her male friend, 34, who tried to save her was four months pregnant
- ‘Pregnant’ woman got into difficulties and her friend died trying to save her life
- The incident happened at 2.30pm yesterday in Zambujeira do Mar, Alentejo
- Surfers pulled them out of the water and made attempts to revive them
- A Portuguese Air Force helicopter called to beach, which had no lifeguards
- Do you know the people involved? Call 02036151866 or email [email protected] or [email protected]
The British woman who drowned yesterday with a friend in rough seas off a popular Portuguese beach is feared to have been four months pregnant, it was revealed today.
The 33-year-old was pronounced dead after surfers brought her ashore along with a 34-year-old British man who rushed into the sea to save her but also lost his life in the process.
The pair have been described locally as a couple, although police who confirmed their nationalities said they believed they were just friends.
The double tragedy happened around 2.30pm at Zambujeira do Mar on Portugal’s south-west coast in its picturesque Alentejo region.
Today respected Portuguese daily Correio da Manha reported the unnamed woman who died was four months pregnant.
The Portuguese coastguard try to save a British pair in their thirties who drowned at a beach in Zambujeira do Mar in south-west Portugal yesterday. It is feared that the woman was four months pregnant
That particular stretch of beach in the Zambujeira do Mar area has no lifeguard service after September 15
It also claimed two friends who were with the Brits on holiday in the area witnessed the drama as it unfolded.
Maritime Police chief Rui Pedro Silva Filipe spoke after the tragedy to confirm the dead pair’s ages and nationalities.
He said: ‘They were in Portugal on holiday with a group of friends.
‘It appears the man went to the woman’s aid when he saw she was in difficulties and was holding onto a rock.
‘He reached her but it was when they were coming back to the beach that they disappeared from view, maybe because they had got tired.
‘Local surfers went to their aid and got them out of the water to a small area of sand near the main beach but by that time they had already gone into cardiac arrest.
‘Medical responders had already reached the scene and made an unsuccessful attempt to revive them by practicing CPR.
‘They were taken to a local health centre where they were pronounced dead and their bodies have now been taken to Beja for the autopsies to take place.’
The beach where the tragedy occurred has no lifeguard service after September 15 and officials have described the sea yesterday afternoon/on Sunday afternoon as a ‘little bit rough.’
The medical responders reached the scene by helicopter and made an unsuccessful attempt to revive them by practicing CPR
A friend had rushed into the water to save the woman when she got into difficulties and was spotted clinging to a rock. He managed to reach her but he too started to struggle as they made their way back to shore (stock image)
Strong currents are believed to have played a part in the tragedy, which led to the mobilization of emergency responders including police and firefighters as well as a Portuguese Air Force helicopter which removed the Brits’ bodies from the area of sand the surfers took them to.
Social media warnings highlight the ‘Zambujeira Rip current’ located left of the main beach.
One local said last year on Instagram: ‘A rip current forms because wind and breaking waves push surface water towards the land and this causes a slight rise in the water level along the shore.
‘This excess water will tend to flow back to the open water via the route of least resistance.
‘When there is a local area which is slightly deeper or a break in an offshore sand bar or reef, this can allow water to flow offshore more easily and this will initiate a rip current though that gap.
‘Even tough rip currents are usually used by experienced surfers to paddle out easily to the outside surf areas but they are extremely dangerous to any beach swimmer or surfing beginner.’
Zambujeira do Mar hosts an annual five-day music festival called the MEO Sudoeste.
The likes of Madness have played at the festival, which takes place in August.
The event focuses on dance music but also includes hip hop, pop and reggae. This year’s performers included Rita Ora.