Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has helped rescue two women who came into difficulty at an Algarve beach when their kayak capsized.
The president, 71, was pictured on Saturday swimming over to the kayakers who were struggling in the water. He later told reporters that the women had been swept by currents from a neighbouring beach into the bay. President Rebelo de Sousa is currently on holiday in the Algarve in a bid to promote tourism there.
Portugal’s economy relies heavily on its tourism industry, which has been hugely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The president had just spoken to journalists at Praia do Alvor beach when he noticed the women struggling.
Video footage caught the moment he swam into the sea to assist them. Another man was already there, trying to help turn the kayak over while a person on a jet ski also approached to offer help.
The man on the jet ski then managed to tow the kayak back to the shore.
After assisting the women, President Rebelo de Sousa told journalists that the women had come from another beach.
“As there is a very large west current, they were dragged out, turned around, swallowed a lot of water and were not even able to turn [the kayak], nor to climb [on it], or swim, such is the strength of the current,” he told local media. The president said he was helped by another “patriot” on the jet ski.
He warned that the women should be careful in future.
According to broadcaster 20 Minutos, the president is spending his holidays visiting different areas of the country to promote tourism.
Portugal remains off the list of countries that the UK government has exempted from quarantine restrictions.
The country is incredibly popular with British holidaymakers, with almost three million UK visitors a year. More tourists from the UK head to the Algarve each summer than from any other country.
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