Brazilian model who jumped into sea during a storm to save her puppies from drowning found dead
37-year-old Caroline Bittencourt's death was confirmed on Monday, April 29, with several tributes from friends and family pouring in
A Brazilian model who jumped into a raging sea during a fierce storm to save her puppies which had fallen out of her boat has been found dead.
Caroline Bittencourt had jumped overboard near Ilhabela, an island off the coast of Sao Paulo, on Sunday, April 29, and her body was found near Cigarras Beach, in the northern region of Sao Paulo the next day.
According to The Sun, 37-year-old Bittencourt was cruising on a catamaran along with her husband Jorde Sestini on what was a peaceful Sunday afternoon, even posting Instagram stories of her smiling and enjoying herself on the boat.
But as the afternoon passed, the wind began picking up speed and reached over 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour). The strong winds eventually toppled their boat, throwing their puppies, who had traveled with them, overboard.
Desperate to save them, Bittencourt reportedly jumped head first into the sea but was quickly pulled away by the currents herself. Sestini, who watched with horror, then jumped into the sea as well to save his wife. He swam through the waters close to Ilhabela for at least three hours before he was rescued by officials.
Bittencourt's close friend, Can Saad, confirmed the sequence of events, telling The Sun, "She jumped into the sea to save two puppies of hers that had fallen into the water because of the wind. It was just her, her husband and the puppies on the boat."
"Jorge jumped into the water to try to save her but they became separated from each other because of the storm," she continued. "He had to swim three hours towards the coast to survive."
Andreia Boneti, the 37-year-old's agent, said Sestini, who only married the model this past January, was in a "state of shock" after his wife's tragic death. "He saw Carol drowning and wasn’t able to save her. It was a terrible moment for him," she said.
Bittencourt leaves behind her only child, 17-year-old Isabelle, who posted a touching tribute to her mother on Instagram, writing, "We are grateful for the support and affectionate messages we have received from Carol's friends and fans. This energy drive fills our hearts with so much love."
OXYgen Models, the agency which represented Bittencourt, also released a tribute after her sudden death, writing in a statement, "We appreciate all the trust she placed in us in these years of work and partnership. Our condolences go to her friends and family. We are in mourning."