'Missing' French tourists were safe at home

2013-08-19 09:01

Aiguines - French tourists believed missing after their abandoned canoe was discovered at a popular holiday spot, sparking an expensive manhunt, were safe at home all along, police said Saturday.

The discovery of an empty canoe floating in the Lac de Sainte-Croix in the heart of Provence triggered fears for a couple and two children believed to have rented it on Thursday.

About 40 rescuers, backed up by a helicopter, divers and sniffer dogs, had been scouring the picturesque emerald lake and its surrounds ever since, in a rescue operation closely followed by local media.

However, on Saturday the occupants of the canoe - in fact two couples and no children - came forward after a friend of one of the "missing" couples alerted police and the mystery was solved.

Gendarme Captain Frederic Del Aguila said the tourists explained that their boat had been overturned by a small wave after the sluices were opened on a hydroelectric dam.

After an argument and "in a panic" the group left the canoe, taking with them the oars and life jackets, and eventually found a lift home.

Del Aguila welcomed the "happy outcome" of the affair.

The prosecutor for the commune of Draguignan, Danielle Drouy-Ayral, said gendarmes questioned one of the women, who "admitted it was she and her friends who abandoned the canoe after having navigation troubles and getting into an argument."

"A little worried about the consequences it could have, they didn't want to come forward," the prosecutor said, adding that it was not possible to press charges against the tourists.

However they would be fined 35 euros for entering a part of the lake forbidden to tourists, said local deputy prefect, Emmanuel Dupuis.

Holidaymakers flock to the lake, renting canoes and paddle-boats to make their way up the Gorges de Verdon, a spectacular river canyon that is 25 kilometres long and up to 700 metres deep in places.

The owner of the canoe rental company Gerard Lacroix expressed his "anger at the irresponsibility" of the tourists for not coming forward earlier.

Read more on:    tourists  |  travel  |  travel international

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel

 
/News

#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.