Divers restart search for Madeleine in Arade dam

Divers restart search for Madeleine in Arade dam
13 March 2008
Algarve Resident
Cecília Pires

Anything found as a result of the searches being carried out by divers at the Arade dam near Silves will be given to Método 3, the Spanish private investigating company hired by the McCann family to help find Madeleine.

The divers' search of the waters at the Arade Dam started on Monday in a private operation commissioned by the Madeira-based lawyer Marcos Aragão Correia and sponsored by a Portimão-based company named SPEC.

According to Marcos Aragão Correia,"as the Portuguese police have not shown interest in the operation, we will give all the objects we find to Metodo 3 so that they can be analysed".  Any forensic tests needed will be done in Spain and after that "if   anything is found, we will give the results to the Polícia Judiciária", he told The Resident.

*Child's sock*

By the time The Resident went to press on Wednesday, the diving teams were still focusing their searches near the dam's level control tower. "The site is crucial on this search as it is where all the findings have happened", Marcos Aragão Correia said.

On Monday, the teams found a child's sock which is "to be analysed to see if any DNA of Madeleine is found", the lawyer said, adding that "we are certain that this is a sock of a child aged between five and six and its  material is not common in Portugal".

Divers also found four ropes, one of them about five metres long. This will also be sent for analysis.

In response to a report printed in the British press, saying that Gerry and Kate McCann were not happy with this private operation, Marcos Aragão Correia told The Resident that "a contact was made with Metodo 3 to clarify that information and we can say it is false".

He also said that "the family is not sponsoring the diving because they believe Madeleine is alive, but we are receiving support from Metodo 3, which means they are aware of everything".

*Poor visibility*

The search in the Arade Dam is being directed by Martin Falkous, who has five divers from Dive Time, based in Lagos, plus two from the Portimão Bombeiros who have joined the operation in their own time.

Visibility in the water is very poor and the divers are using touch and feel in their search. With mud being between one and two metres deep at the bottom of the water, the colour changed from a dark green to light brown within seconds of the divers beginning the search.

This operation follows a first phase of searches, held in late January and February, when divers found an entrance covered by a metal grate and could not search inside the water tubes leading to the tower.

The search is expected to continue until today (Friday) afternoon and Marcos Aragão Correia has said that if Madeleine McCann's body is found in the Arade dam, he will reveal all the information related to the tip-off that has led to the search. [Note: Although Madeleine's body has never been found, Correia later disclosed that the "tip off" was actually a psychic vision he had experienced rather than information from an underworld criminal.]

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