Their paddleboard was located by a sailboat 15 nautical miles off the coast the day after they headed out to sea on 27 August to watch the sunrise. SUR
Maritime search and rescue service offers new theory on what happened to missing paddleboarders on the Costa del Sol
Missing persons

Maritime search and rescue service offers new theory on what happened to missing paddleboarders on the Costa del Sol

A search area twice the size of Malaga province has been scoured, but the only clue found was the pair's paddleboard which was discovered 15 nautical miles off the coast

Juan Cano


Tuesday, 19 September 2023


Two young paddleboarders who disappeared off the Costa del Sol on 27 August may have tried swimming back to shore after strong winds swept them out to sea, Spain's Salvamento Marítimo maritime search and rescue service has suggested.

Clues have been scarce since Maxi Ludvik (29 years) and Emmanuel Soria (34) vanished after they paddled out to sea to watch the sunrise at about 7.20am off Misericordia beach in Huelin, Malaga. Just their paddleboard was found some 15 nautical miles off the coast the next day.

Salvamento Marítimo called off the sea search on Monday 18 September - 21 days after the two Argentinian friends were last seen. Authorities explained the decision to the heartbroken families on Monday during a meeting with national government representatives in Malaga.

The head of national coordination for Salvamento Marítimo Manuel Barroso travelled to Malaga for the meeting. "I came just to meet with the parents and explain the operation, although in a situation like this we have to understand them more than they understand us," he said. "There is an international procedure that serves as a guide, but in this operation the search has gone far beyond a reasonable expectation of finding them alive."

Barroso said the turning point of the search came early on, a day after they went missing, when authorities found their paddleboard. "When the board turns up and not the boys ... time is moving against us and the probability, which is already very low, is decreasing. Every minute in the water is vital because of the fatigue and the cold," he said.

The theory, "which we have no way of proving," Barroso added, is that the two young men tried to swim to shore. "We can't determine what could have happened, only that there was an onshore wind that blew them away from the beach and that they most likely tried to swim to the mainland. Let's hope we are wrong."

When this happens, and the wind or current drags an inflatable object out to sea, the most common reaction is to jump into the water and swim. "We always recommend that it is better to stay on the object or the board, the chances of being rescued are much higher," Barroso pointed out.

Although the active search has officially been called off, "Salvamento Marítimo is not going to look the other way, we are still at sea, and in the air. It can take as long as it takes, we will never forget," Barroso said.


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