A sailboat ran aground this Friday morning at Cabedelo beach, in Figueira da Foz, causing slight injuries to a 34-year-old woman, the vessel’s crew, said witnesses at the scene and hospital and maritime authority sources.
The Cumulus vessel, an 11-metre-long sailboat, with a Belgian flag and crewed by two citizens of the same nationality – a 44-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman – ran aground at around 10:00 am on a sand bank near Cabedelo beach South, less than a kilometer from the bar at the port of Figueira da Foz (from where it left at around 9:30 am) and in front of a local surf school.
Speaking to Lusa agency, Ivan Tomás, owner of Surf Scool, said that the couple was taken out of the water by two of their instructors and taken to the beach, apparently without injuries.
Eduardo Charana, 30 years old, one of the surf monitors who participated in the rescue, said that, early this morning, when they reached the beach, they saw the sailboat “a bit lost, in a place where it shouldn’t be”, near the surf zone.
In view of the situation, they alerted the Captaincy of the Port of Figueira da Foz.
However, as soon as a wave came and the boat rolled, we went there to help. The first instinct when we saw that happening was to go help”, explained Eduardo Charana, who was a lifeguard for six years at Cabedelo beach.
He added that the sailboat “run aground on the sand” in an area “with a lot of waves” about 150 meters from the beach.
When we got to the foot of the boat, [os tripulantes] they had already managed to get out. The lady was in shock, as if paralyzed, she couldn’t move, you were actually fine. We put you on the board, you came by your own means, but we came with you, worried that you wouldn’t have the strength to reach the sand”, he stated.
On the beach, the couple was rescued by firefighters and the National Institute of Medical Emergency (INEM), which were activated in the meantime.
The lady was very scared. She was strapped to her harness, fell off the boat and drank a mouthful of water. When he got to the beach he vomited a lot”, said, in turn, Eduardo Alçada, another surf monitor, who went aboard the vessel to retrieve some of the crew’s goods and belongings.
I spoke with you, went on board alone and brought a waterproof backpack with mobile phones, money and documents”, he emphasized.
Eduardo Alçada also said that the sailboat had damage to the mast and the level of the rudder, apparently due to the action of the swell in the surf zone.
Heard by Lusa, João Lourenço, commander of the Port of Figueira da Foz, confirmed the recovery of the assets of the Belgian couple, authorized by him, adding that the causes of the accident remain unknown and will be investigated by the Captaincy.
João Lourenço added that the boat is stranded “in an area where there is no danger for the rest of the navigation” and that the owner will have to hand over to the authorities a plan to remove it.
Where it is, it will hardly ever float again on its own. From the experience I have, with the rising tide, he will be pushed by the sea to land”, argued the Porto commander.
Asked about the possible relationship between low tide and the sailboat stranding – the peak of low tide at Figueira da Foz was at 10:39, with a height of only 30 centimeters – João Lourenço refused to “speculate” on the reasons, reaffirming that an investigation into the accident will take place.
It is true that the space to maneuver at low tide is less, there is always an associated risk. But the channel is also seen better [de navegação]”, he stressed.
A source from the communication office of the District Hospital of Figueira da Foz (HDFF) confirmed that the two Belgian crew members were admitted to the emergency room at the health unit – located near Cabedelo beach – “as a matter of precaution”.
The lady had hypothermia, is clinically stable and under observation. You are fine and also under observation”, indicated the source of the HDFF.
In addition to the surfers involved, the operation at Cabedelo beach involved 27 operational and eight vehicles from the fire brigade Sapadores and Volunteers of Figueira da Foz, INEM, the Maritime Police and the Instituto de Socorros a Náufragos.