Enseada Beach, Guarujá, Brazil--the area where the accident occurred--is a popular beach for tourists, paddlers and boaters alike. Photo: Pat O’Rourke, Facebook

A tragic SUP story came out of São Paulo, Brazil this past weekend.

A 26-year-old woman lost an arm after being struck by a boat while paddleboarding off Enseada Beach in Guarujá, a city on the coast of São Paulo. According to local emergency officials, the victim and her husband were standup paddling when a boat towing a “banana boat” overturned them and sent them in the water. While the man escaped injury, the woman’s arm was severed after getting caught in the boat’s propeller.

Despite a search by emergency officials, the amputated arm was not able to be located following the incident.

Identified as Thais Souza Machado, 26, was rescued by a private jet ski and rushed to the hospital. After undergoing surgery, the state of women’s health was reported as stable.

According to officials, the area serves as an entry and exit point for boats, yet swimmers are free to access the area.

The incident serves as a gruesome safety reminder about the dangers of standup paddling in crowded waterways. While boaters bear the responsibility of staying clear of paddlers and swimmers, there are still strategies paddlers can deploy to stay safe.

SUP Magazine always suggest thinking twice about entering crowded waterways via SUP, wearing bright clothes, bringing a whistle, paddling closer to shore or inside “No Wake” zones and taking constant account of your surroundings and the location of other boaters can help paddlers stay safe in busier waterways. Don’t assume other boaters will see you and give motorboats a wide birth whenever possible. In addition, following basic SUP safety essentials such as wearing a leash and PFD should always be adhered to.

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