British tourists cheat death’ after boat with 36 passengers capsizes in Portugal

British passengers aboard a sinking holiday boat say they are lucky to be alive after "cheating death".

Troy French was one of 36 passengers who dived overboard after the vessel only to find her life jacket not working.

The vessel sank off the Algarve on Monday after taking on water, and left Troy terrified she was going to die on a return trip from the Bengali sea cave.

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By the time rescuers arrived at the sinking vessel, which was carrying four children, most of it was underwater and the passengers and crew were rescued from the water.

Troy, from London, said: "They [the crew] got everyone to move to the front of the boat and then the back of the boat was sinking, sinking, sinking to the point where everyone just started jumping into the water.

"A lot of peoples' lifejackets were failing and weren't activating when people were going into the water. It was a really bad experience and very scary.

"It was about three minutes between the time water started coming into the boat and we started sinking and another five to ten minutes before boats started arriving and another five to ten minutes before people started actually getting rescued.

"I'm a confident swimmer but I was swallowing water and I was panicking for people whose lifejackets weren't working properly. I'm just so glad that everyone made it out to safety."

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Another passenger, Lila Evangelista, speaking to Daily Mail, worried she was "going to die" on the capsized vessel.

Lila, from London, said: "I thought I was going to die. The water wasn't really high to start with and I was calm but then it started rising very quickly and I began to panic.

"The coastguards came a little bit late when everyone was already in the big boat that picked up most of those that ended up in the water."

No information on the cause of the incident has yet been released and no casualties have been reported, although medical teams noted some passengers were "showing signs of hypothermia".

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