The port captain and local commander of the Maritime Police of Vila Real de Santo António and Tavira (Faro district), João Afonso Martins, stated that the young woman was picked up at the end of the afternoon, 25 miles away ( around 46 kilometres) south of Vila Real de Santo António by a merchant ship that was sailing on its way to Tangier, in Morocco.

A Portuguese Air Force helicopter was sent to collect the young woman, who was in a “high state of hypothermia”, and still on top of the paddle board she was on when she disappeared, according to João Afonso Martins.

“The fact of being on top of the board relieved the state of hypothermia, because she was not in direct contact with the water” said the captain of the Port of Vila Real de Santo António, adding that age “may have helped”, given that young people to be “more resistant” in this type of situation.

According to the representative, when she was found, the young woman managed to say her name and that she is from Setúbal.

The person in charge of the Maritime Authority in Vila Real de Santo António thanked “all those who participated in the rescue operation”, which had already taken place for almost 24 hours.

João Afonso Martins told Lusa that the searches had taken place throughout the night and continued during the day with the support of an Air Force.