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Portugal's President Rescues two Women Trapped in Sea

The president of Portugal has rescued two women who were struggling in the water after their canoe capsized off a beach in the Algarve.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, 71, was filmed on Saturday swimming out to the two women after their canoe tipped over off the Praia do Alvor beach in the Algarve. 

The president, who was on holiday in the region in an attempt to re-energise the country's tourism sector, told reporters that the women had been caught in a current at a nearby beach before being swept into Praia do Alvor.  

'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,' the president told local media. 

Footage of the incident shows the 71-year-old president, who underwent a minor heart operation last year, front-crawling out to the overturned kayak as a man on a jet ski approaches to help the rescue effort.  

The president called the man on the jet ski a 'patriot' when speaking to journalists after returning to the beach, the BBC reported, before advising the women to be more careful in the future. 

He said that the pair didn't know how to swim very well, adding that the current would've been problematic even for experienced swimmers, Publico reported.

According to Portuguese broadcaster 20 minutos, the president was in the Algarve for two days in a bid to boost the region's tourism industry after a sharp drop due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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