The deputy mayor of Montalegre, David Teixeira, said that the challenge was to remove a “monster from under the water” and thus clean up the Alto Rabagão reservoir, locally known as dos Pisões.

The operation took place because there is a scenario of “minus 30 metres” in the water level and involved the Portuguese marines, the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), the Parley Foundation for the Oceans and the municipality.

The accident took place on July 13, 1997, when the aircraft sank in the reservoir after a hydraulic problem and an attempt to ditch, the two occupants survived and were taken to hospital at the time by the Montalegre firefighters.

The Secretary of State for Nature Conservation, Forests and Territorial Planning, João Paulo Catarino, who was in Alto Rabagão, explained that the initiative is part of a wider operation.

“The APA took advantage of the fact that we have some dams with lower water levels and we took the opportunity to do some cleaning in these reservoirs. This turned out to be a symbolic cleaning because we knew that an aircraft was here, which had been here for over 20 years and, obviously, it was our intention to remove it and it was with some emotion that we found the firefighters here today who helped to help the pilots in this accident at the time”, said the official.

PHOTO: Montalegre, Facebook