Bathers on a beach in Manilva on Monday received an unexpected visitor as a police chase through the water resulted in a speedboat, pursued by a helicopter, crashing onto the shore and its driver escaping on foot across the sand.
It appears that the driver was taken by surprise in the Strait of Gibraltar as he was heading to a drug-smuggling boat to deliver fuel ahead of its receipt of the contraband.
The presence of the two boats was detected midway through the afternoon by the radars of SIVE, a branch of the Guardia Civil concerned with border control and drug trafficking, which mobilised its sea and air patrols having suspected it was a trafficking operation.
The police helicopter, which was on call on the Strait and manned by officers from Seville, immediately descended on the area. According to sources, the semi-rigid boat, with powerful engines with which smuggling boats are typically equipped, fled towards Morocco while the other headed towards the Spanish coast.
At this point, a chase ensued which ended at Sabinillas beach which was filled with bathers.
The scene was recorded by dozens of people of their mobile phones. "Look! Look at the helicopter!" could be heard in the background of one clip, followed by "should we go?" as the boat approached the shore.
With the helicopter still in hot pursuit, the driver of the boat didn't stop until he hit the shore at high speed. From there, he continued to flee across the sand on foot, encouraged by the ironic cheers of: "Run! Run!"
The helicopter pilot then tried to keep sights on the man, while communicating his location by radio to officers on the ground. However, before it got that far, an off-duty officer enjoying a day at the beach with his family ran after him and detained him.
According to the same sources, the arrested man was resident in La Línea de la Concepción. In the boat which he abandoned on the shore, there were around twenty tanks of fuel.