Three of the people had to be taken to hospital after the accident, none of them with life threatening injuries.

The causes of the accident, which occurred around 5.30pm on 10 August, are not yet known. According to Jornal Noticias, two children aged around five, along with two women, spent a few minutes in the water under the boat where they found an air pocket enabling them to breathe.

The victims were saved by four young lifeguards from the company AquaForm, hired by the Lagoa City Council for beach surveillance. The boat accident occurred in the Benagil Cave, the most famous cave in the Algarve, much sought after and visited by tourist boats.

“There were people around the boat, others underneath it and people screaming in panic” said a source from the rescue team. The four young lifeguards then rescued the 12 passengers and one crew member.

After the rescue, two people were reportedly taken to Faro Hospital, one suspected to have an arm fracture, and a third to Portimão Hospital due to an anxiety attack.

Among the victims were Portuguese nationals and tourists of other nationalities, namely Spanish and French.

Three days after the incident the Mayor of Lagoa, Luis Encarnação, went to Benagil Beach to compliment and praise the act of courage and professionalism of the lifeguards who successfully rescued the victims of the accident.

Despite the level of panic, these rescuers, hired by the Lagoa City Council to supervise the beach, acted calmly to complete the rescue operation successfully.

The high demand for visiting the Benagil cave gives rise to frequent emergency situations, hence the municipality has been reinforcing the available human and material resources from year to year, so that these situations are minimised and the need for eventual intervention is faster and with better assistance to bathers and visitors”, said a statement from Lagoa Council.