The Three Little Pigs

August is holiday season in Portugal, and that means heading to the seaside so one can cool down.

And the 3 little pigs decided to do exactly the same.

‘The beaches of Portinho da Arrábida and Galapinhos, in the council of Setúbal, were yesterday invaded by wild boars. The appearance of the animals no longer shocks the population, says Pedro Vieira, a leader of the Clube da Arrábida association, adding that “every year the same happens because there are many wild boars in the Serra da Arrábida and at the moment, in a period of drought so great , the animals go down to the beach, looking for food and water.”‘

Setúbal is a little way south of Lisbon. The Parque Natural de Arrábida is exactly what it says on the tin – it is a natural park, hence wild boars. It seems the wild pigs are scroungers that will rummage through the rubbish. But I doubt the pigs went down to the beach for either food or water. Portuguese beaches are not littered with discarded food. And I very much doubt that pigs drink salty sea water.

It looks to me as if the piggies simply wanted to cool off in the scorching summer sun, just like the locals and tourists.


Barlavento news – grenade on Porto de Mós beach

An old but active hand-grenade was found by a couple of strollers on the beach at Porto de Mós. This is just the other side of Rocha Negra from Luz.

Just so you know what a 50 year old Portuguese hand grenade looks like, here is a photo of the object.

There isn’t any information about the couple of walkers in the news report, but they definitely know more about Portuguese munitions than I do.

A call to the authorities produced a quick response. “It was an explosive device about 50 years old,” said Captain Conceição Duarte, of the Port Authority of Lagos. The marines did not evacuate the beach as it was far away from the popular area. They set up an exclusion zone of about 300m around the device, and carried out a controlled explosion.

This is roughly the area in which the device was found, close to Rocha Negra.

Porto de Mós does have a bearing on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, but this story raises a different aspect. For those who tinker with the body-buried-on-beach idea, here is the reality.

This story is about a 50 year old hand grenade, a small object. It might have been buried in the sand and became exposed. It might have washed up from the sea. The truth is, I don’t know.

What I do know is that in this quiet cul-de-sac of Portugal, a very small device was found by a couple out walking. Porto de Mós beach is frequented by walkers, just like the beach at Luz. There is no hiding anything anywhere here, at least until you have a lot of knowledge where not to hide it.

Barlavento news – earthquake north of Lisbon

There was an earthquake of magnitude 4.3 on the Richter scale today (17 Aug 2017) at 7.44am, just north-east of Sobral de Monte Agraço, around 35km from Lisbon.

At the moment, news channels are reporting that no-one has been hurt and no damage caused.

Portugal lies on the border of the African and EuroAsian tectonic plates. As they grind across each other, earthquakes are frequent but they are usually small.

The one that devastated Lisbon and other towns in Portugal in 1755 is estimated to have been at least 10,000 times more powerful.

Like Lisbon, much of the western Algarve suffered badly in the ensuing tsunami.

Madeleine – my vacation from MoJ

I am taking a voluntary break from the Miscarriage of Justice Forum for a month, so I will not be covering any developments in the Madeleine McCann case that might be discussed on MoJ during my absence.

How did this situation arise?

I got warning points for NOT disclosing personal information about another user. Let me repeat that. I did NOT disclose personal information about this user, but I got warning points as if I had.

To clarify this confusion, the user in question was Erngath. The sequence went as follows. User Sadie published two pieces of personal information about Erngath on MoJ. Since these remained on the forum, I would assume these have been divulged by Erngath in the past, though I don’t actually know where Sadie got them from.

Then I posted a news story about a car crash on the Algarve, in the MoJ thread for news from the Algarve. Erngath objected to this. There was a bit of a to and fro on whether my post was appropriate.

Shortly afterwards, Erngath self-published as a ‘supporter’ of the McCanns. I politely requested permission from Erngath that I might therefore in future use the term supporter to describe him/her. Erngath agreed to this.

Another ‘supporter’ queried why I was requesting permission. I explained that I consider ‘supporter’ and ‘sceptic’ to be connotative terms, not to be used lightly, just as I would not use any other personal information about Erngath. Please note, to date I had not disclosed any personal information whatsoever. I simply had an agreement that I was now OK to classify Erngath as a supporter.

It was at this point that Erngath complained formally to the MoJ that I had gleaned further personal information. That further personal information was/is posted by Sadie in open forum on MoJ, and I have NEVER repeated it.

So I have been punished for Sadie’s sins. But the story gets even better.

Having decided to make a formal complaint about my post, Erngath decided to dump into open forum a large slab of personal details, and AFAIK that pen-portrait is still there, should anyone care to know about Erngath.

I don’t suffer fools gladly. Moaning about NON-publication of personal details, then posting up a string of personal interests is one thing and one thing only. It is blatant cheating. It is akin to a football player who tries to con the referee with a dive in the penalty area.

Just add a final twist to the tale, Erngath had been moaning about deletion of posts. The thread is in an open forum in the admin section, so anyone can check it. What you will find is how I weighed in on behalf of the mods. It was literally as I hit send on that post that the forum told me I had been awarded warning points.

Shades of Diego Maradona and the hand of mods!

Please note that to date, the only personal detail I have published re Erngath is that for which I was given explicit permission by Erngath.

What difference does my month off from the MoJ make? Very little, in reality.

There is very little of interest happening re Madeleine McCann in the MSM. The date for an appeal to the ECHR is approaching, but I assume it will simply come and go. The date for a further tranche of funding is approaching, and I dare say we will learn what Operation Grange has got for the next slog.

MoJ will get less on the thread for news from the Algarve. There is another news story from the Algarve today, but who cares? People who can read Portuguese will find it. Those who can’t wont. It happens to have no relevance to the McCann case, and I have no intention of acting as a substitute for an MoJ thread.

That leaves local activity. There are 3 people I would like to meet in and around Luz in the next month or so. Perhaps I will get to speak to them. Perhaps I won’t. But anything I do get will be published on this blog rather than MoJ, which is exactly what would have happened if I was not having a break from MoJ.

Portelas – moving – 21% – please do not switch off

There is very little happening on the Madeleine McCann front at the moment. I am currently working hard to get us moved out of Luz and into Portelas, just north of Lagos.

My better half is struggling with a domestic issue in Inglaterra, so has a flight planned ‘home’, plus is quite possibly suffering from gallstones, which may require keyhole surgery.

Hopefully, you will understand that my priorities do not involve Madeleine at this point in time.

We have to be out of Luz by the end of August. I intend to be up and active again on this blog by then. But please bear with me while we install a new location and reconfigure.

Kindly come with me and join us in our new home in Portelas.

Madeleine v Paços de Ferreira

Paços de Ferreira’s opening match in the Primeira Liga this year is away to Marítimo of Madeira.

My interest in this is simple. The news report says the team is making the trip by boat from Porto Santo, and the sea trip will last 2.5 hours. This is when things did not look right, surely no one could have taken Madeleine to Madeira by sea in so short a time.

The reason that the football team is using a ferry to get to Madeira is that Madeira’s airport, Cristiano Ronaldo, has been closed for some time, due to exceptionally strong winds over the island. As it happens, Cristiano Ronaldo has already re-opened, and some 8 aircraft have landed and 5 departed.

Back to Paços de Ferreira and Porto Santo. It turns out that Paços de Ferreira are located to the north-east of Porto, so the team is going to be doing a lot of travelling this season.

Here is a map of south-west Iberia, and out into the Atlantic.

Madeira is the island marked with Funchal. Porto Santo is the much smaller island above and to the right. The gap between that looks tiny is what is going to take 2.5 hours by boat. So it’s plain that a journey by sea from mainland Portugal to Madeira would take days.

Madeira happens to have two relevancies to the Madeleine McCann story, which is why this news item popped out at me. In an intelligence report around the year 2000, Madeira was noted as one of 4 paedophile hotspots in Portugal though, from memory, it was more to do with in-family activity and sex tourism. While the person other than Vitor dos Santos who handled bookings at the Ocean Club, Luis Duarte, was having a short break in Madeira when Madeleine disappeared.

Returning to Paços de Ferreira, their match v Marítimo kicks off at 4pm tomorrow, and they expect to depart Madeira at 8pm for the marathon trip home. Weather conditions will determine whether they fly direct to Porto from Cristiano Ronaldo or whether they transfer back to Porto Santo by boat.

ETA Marítimo 1  Paços de Ferreira 0.

Cessna emergency landing kills two on beach

On Wednesday 2 Oct 2017, a Cessna on a training flight lost power in its single engine forcing it to glide to make an emergency landing. The crew consisted of an experienced instructor and a student learning to fly. Instead of ditching the aircraft in the sea, a decision was made to land on a beach. Bear in mind this is the holiday season, and temperatures are in the mid-30s. Accordingly the beach was packed, and as the aircraft engine was silent, there was limited warning for the holidaymakers.

The plane survived nearly intact, and the two pilots were unhurt. However two people on the beach were killed when struck by the Cessna, and a third was injured. Police authorities and medical help were quickly on the scene.

Details are emerging very rapidly as all the major Portuguese media outlets are covering this.

The incident is being investigated by the police authorities as a potential crime, and by the air transport authorities, as an aviation incident.

The first person killed was an 8-year old girl, named as Sofia by her father in an interview for TVI. Her family group was on the beach when the father realised the plane was heading their way. He shepherded most of his family to safety and Sofia was told to run with them. When he turned to check on her, he saw her being struck on the head by the Cessna. She was killed instantly.

Just a few yards further along the beach, a 56-year old man was killed on the spot as the Cessna struck him in his legs. This man has now been identified as José Lima, a sergeant in the air force.

It does not take a genius to work out that the damage to the left wing strut (RHS in the photo) is due to this collision. The authorities were seen inspecting this strut in great detail, and it looks like some kind of sample was taken from the impact area.

The incident took place on the beach of Caparica, which is on the east coast of Portugal, not far south of Lisbon.

Tribunal proceedings have already started in Almada with both pilots in attendance. A representative of the air transport authority told the court of a similar incident that happened nearby in August 2015. This was also in a Cessna, but this time with 3 pilots on board. Or 2 depending on the source. Again the sole engine of the plane failed, forcing the plane to attempt a glide landing, this time trying for a deserted strip of land beside the sea at Cova do Vapor.

Due to a combination of wind direction and tall buildings, the 2015 pilot could not land on the first pass. After turning round, he did not have enough altitude for a second attempt at a landing on the strip of earth, so he chose to ditch the Cessna in the sea.

The aircraft was a write-off. Fishermen rescued the 3 (or 2) pilots from the water. The inquest advised that future flights near water should carry inflatable life-jackets to make ditching a safer option.

The two pilots in the current case have been allowed to walk free from the tribunal, but apparently are facing charges of homicide by negligence.