Search for Briton missing in Santa Clara dam could be scaled back

By Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 30-08-2018 09:57:00 · 0 Comments
Search for Briton missing in Santa Clara dam could be scaled back

On Wednesday, officials involved in the search for missing Briton Richard Chapelow were considering scaling back the size of the search, which at the time of going to press (on Wednesday) was in its 10th day.

Mr. Chapelow, 29, disappeared in the waters of the Santa Clara dam in Ourique, Alentejo, an hour’s drive north of the Algarve, over a week ago after being flung from a banana boat.
Local fire Chief Mário Batista, who is heading the search, told The Portugal News on Wednesday that a decision would be made later that evening, after the day’s searches, on whether or not to pare back the operation from Thursday.
“The boats, in principle, will stay on, but maybe not the divers”, he said, explaining the depth of the water and its murkiness plus debris on the dam’s bed have hampered the hunt.
“It’s like an underwater forest, with lots of trees and mud on the bottom”, he described.

Last week the search was bumped up from an initial 30 to more than 60 elements, but after 10 days of fruitless scouring, it might soon be downsized.
Marketing and advertising executive Richard Chapelow is said to have been on holiday in southern Portugal with billionaire Foxtons estate agency founder Jon Hunt’s son Harry, at their luxury villa, when the accident happened.
He was part of a group 10 Britons having fun on the water last Monday; six were on a boat, and four on a ‘banana boat’-type inflatable, which flipped while being pulled by the boat.
Three of the four riders swam back to the boat; Mr. Chapelow is still missing.
A Beja GNR spokesperson told The Portugal News that all types of recreational vessels being used on the public waters of the dam must be licensed and riders are obliged to wear lifejackets.
Whether or not Mr. Chapelow was wearing a lifejacket at the time of the accident is still under investigation and no further comments could be provided.


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