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In 'Scene From Baywatch,' Portugal President Makes a Big Save

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, in Algarve region to boost tourism, helped rescue 2 kayakers
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2020 7:24 AM CDT

(Newser) – In normal nonpandemic years, guests flock to the Algarve in Portugal to holiday in the sun. One high-profile name's own recent trip there may have just given the region a little unexpected promotion. Local media reports that Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has been spending his vacation heading to areas around the country in an effort to boost tourism, and luckily for two women, he was in the Algarve over the weekend when their kayak overturned. Per the BBC, the 71-year-old leader had just finished chatting with journalists Saturday at the Praia de Alvor beach when he spied the two women struggling in the water. In what inews.co.uk describes as a "scene from Baywatch," Rebelo de Sousa jumped in the water and swam out to them, where another man was already trying to help them right their kayak.

The women's kayak had apparently gotten stuck in a current at another local beach and been swept away, and at some point their kayak had flipped. A man on a Jet Ski eventually converged upon the scene and towed the kayak to shore. It's not clear how the women were safely returned to the beach. After the rescue, the president said the women had had a "big scare" in which they'd gulped down a lot of water, and that they were lucky he and "another patriot" were at the right place at the right time. "To ... come to shore holding onto the kayak, at their age—they are girls—is something hard to do," he said, per ABC Australia. He also said he hopes they'll be more cautious next time they're out on the water. (Read more Portugal stories.)

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