Madeleine McCann: The view from Portugal as searches continue for a third day

  • ITV Central's Rajiv Popat reports from Portugal on the search for missing Leicestershire girl Madeleine McCann, a story that once again is making headlines worldwide

Portuguese police are continuing to search an area around the Arade reservoir for a third day, where it’s believed the main suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann visited.

The site here, which is picturesque and very remote, is busy with journalists from the UK and Portugal, while police carry out detailed searches led by German prosecutors to find Madeleine, from Leicestershire, who vanished while on holiday with her family in 2007.

On Tuesday, the search started well, but was hampered by heavy rainfall, but yesterday chainsaws, trimmers and heavy machinery were used to get through undergrowth and thick vegetation.

A valley and an island sits in close distance, which ITV News Central understands, teams are also keen to search.

This is not the first time the reservoir was searched; it was investigated by specialist divers in 2008. The last search in Portugal was in 2014 by British Police.

The reason this site is so significant is because German authorities believe Christian Brueckner, who is the main suspect in this case, spent time here between 2000-2017. He reportedly called it his 'little slice of paradise'.

He has always denied any involvement in her disappearance.

Christian B Credit: AP

This is a story that continues to fascinate and divide opinions.

On my way to Portugal from the East Midlands, a couple from Melton stopped me to say their thoughts are with Madeleine McCann's parents.

Another couple from Nottingham told me they have a daughter of a similar age to Madeleine and they say this is every parent's worst nightmare.

Here at the reservoir there has been a lot of regional and national broadcasters from Portugal.

One correspondent told me why this is such a big story here in Portugal: "It's a big mystery what happened all those years from now, makes the mystery even bigger.

"New activity like this one, a huge effort of search in a dense area, with three police forces all together, so that brings something new to this search, this long search and of course people get interested."

The search was meant to last for two days, but has today entered its third day.