British woman Victoria Cunningham, was reported missing in the Algarve on 5 August but was confirmed as being found in Olhos de Água on 6 August by a local Algarve resident who alerted her family to her whereabouts.
Her brother, John Whaite, known for his win on the Great British Bake Off 2012, tweeted on Tuesday afternoon “I am delighted to say that Victoria has been found. She is alive, she is sober but she is very distressed (it seems she was found JUST in time).
“A stranger recognised her and took her into her house. Each and every one of you, who has tweeted, shared and commented, has saved a life today. And I cannot thank you enough – you are all angels.”
He added: “We are now going to focus on getting her home and back in good health in the privacy and protection of our family. My gratitude to each one of you is undying. You’ve helped save a sister, a daughter and a mother – thank you.”
The “stranger” who recognised Victoria was a British resident from Olhos de Água who told The Portugal News that she was able to identify Victoria and make contact with her family after identifying her locally, adding that she was “now safe and with family and I imagine hoping to get back to the UK”
The British resident was able to identify Victoria after seeing posts about the case on social media including on the Facebook group “Anything & Everything Algarve” which the resident found to be “very useful and productive” in helping with the situation.
Victoria Cunningham, was initially declared missing in the Algarve after failing to get on her flight at Faro airport on 5 August.
According to a post on social media by her brother John Whaite, “Victoria was last seen this morning (August 6th) in the Olhos de Àgua / Albufeira area. She can’t be too far away from there now”.
Following a post on The Portugal News Facebook page, one reader came forward after reading the article about Victoria to say that “She has been found currently with my wife in our apartment”. The reader added that Victoria had been found in Olhos de Água.
Whaite shared updates on his Facebook and Twitter feeds calling for information regarding the disappearance of his sister in the Algarve, ultimately utilising the social media platforms to help find his sister in the Algarve.
He wrote previously on Facebook: “My sister, Victoria Cunningham, has gone missing from Faro Airport. We are all concerned for her welfare and just want to get her home safely. If anyone sees her please let us know where, and if anyone talks to her please tell her that her family love her and want her home”.
In a timeline published by Whaites on Twitter, he states that Victoria was seen on Saturday, at 11.05am when she was “unable to board her flight due to a breakdown and intoxication (linked to depression and PMDD)” where her boyfriend then left her.
On Monday afternoon she was then due to board flight 7194 and was left by police at check in when she then absconded without her passport or any money, her brother continues.
“Apparently she headed towards a petrol station in Faro, leaving the airport trying to take a can of coke w/o payment (can therefore assume no money). My other sister Jane and friend Chris are flying out now to try and find her.”
In one of his tweets Whaite explained the situation further: “Yes she dumped her own passport. Yes she was intoxicated. Yes the Portuguese police have said they don’t have to look for her unless she commits a crime. But she has a history of mental illness and suicide risk. This behaviour stems from diagnosis of depression and PMDD.
“She is vulnerable and poses a risk only to herself. Family worried sick.”
The British Embassy Lisbon initially posted on their Facebook page on 6 August a missing persons alert for Victoria stating that she was “last seen on Monday 5 August, on her way to the fuel station outside the airport, having failed to make her flight”.
An update on their page now reads: “We are very happy to share John Whaite’s good news that his sister Victoria has thankfully been found, and she will be returning to her family soon. Sincere thanks to all who shared the earlier posts about her whereabouts.”