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Search scaled down for two young paddleboarders who disappeared off Costa del Sol beach more than two weeks ago
Missing persons

Search scaled down for two young paddleboarders who disappeared off Costa del Sol beach more than two weeks ago

The Spanish authorities have been searching by air and sea for the missing Argentinian friends since 29 August, but have only located their paddle board

Juan Cano / Susana Zamora

Malaga

Tuesday, 12 September 2023, 10:39

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The official search for two Argentinian paddleboarders who have missing out at sea off the Costa del Sol for more than two weeks has been scaled down by Spanish authorities.

Clues have been scarce since Emmanuel Soria and Maxi Ludvik disappeared after they paddled out to sea to watch the sunrise about 7.20am on 27 August off Misericordia beach in Huelin, Malaga. Just their paddleboard was found some 15 nautical miles off the coast the next day,

Since 28 August, both Spain's Salvamento Marítimo maritime rescue service and Guardia Civil, with the help of the Red Cross and Frontex resources, have been tirelessly searching the Alboran Sea, following the probable course the pair would have followed due to strong north-westerly winds that were blowing when they disappeared.

But given the time that has elapsed and the changes in wind and tide, the authorities have switched from an active to a passive search since Monday, so neither maritime nor aerial resources have been mobilised. Rescue sources said that they have switched to the "radio warning" system, in which all vessels passing through the Strait of Gibraltar and the Alboran Sea are alerted and informed that they are looking for the two young men, in case one of them finds anything.

The decision to scale down the search comes despite the families' urgent pleas not to. "They should put themselves in our shoes and understand that it is very difficult to give up when we have no proof that they are alive or dead," said Ignacio Soria, Emmanuel's brother and Maxi Ludvik's best friend.

The father of one of the young men had planned to travel to Morocco to ask the Moroccan authorities for help in the search, although the earthquake has caused him to change his plan. "Why not imagine that they could be in hospital, unconscious and recovering from something that could have happened to them? We still believe in a miracle," Jorge Ludvik said. Salvamento Marítimo discovered a body on Saturday 9 September south of Motril, but the evidence is pointing to it not being one of the missing paddleboarders.

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