LUSA 07/10/2024

Lusa - Business News - Portugal: Sacadura Cabral posthumously promoted to rear admiral

Lisbon, July 9, 2024 (Lusa) - Portuguese pilot Sacadura Cabral, who made the first air crossing of the South Atlantic with navigator Gago Coutinho, was posthumously promoted to the rank of rear admiral, the Navy announced on Tuesday.

"President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has approved the posthumous promotion by distinction to the rank of Rear Admiral of Commander Artur de Sacadura Freire Cabral. The promotion proposal was made by deliberation of the Council of Chiefs of Staff, at the proposal of the Chief of Staff of the Navy, and approved by order of the Minister of National Defence," reads a press release.

The Navy said that Sacadura Cabral "was closely linked to naval aviation", describing him as a "reckless officer and a skilful pilot" who, in 1922, "together with Gago Coutinho successfully carried out the first flight across the South Atlantic, linking Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, an epic feat that catapulted them into the pages of Portuguese history and world aviation".

"In the year that marks the 100th anniversary of his disappearance in the fulfilment of a mission, this posthumous promotion to Rear Admiral is the simplest tribute to a naval serviceman who, had he not disappeared prematurely, would have been promoted to the Admiralty as a matter of course, given the qualities he had demonstrated and his performance up to that point," reads the statement.

On 15 November 1924, three seaplanes took off from Amsterdam - "Fokker" 4146; "Fokker" 4194 and "Fokker" 4197 - commanded by Sacadura Cabral and bound for Lisbon.

"The 4146, commanded by Frigate Captain Sacadura Cabral and mechanic Corporal Pinto Corrêa, was never seen again. The alarm was raised to all the French and British bases and the ships sailing in the region. Four days later, fragments of a float from Sacadura's seaplane were found in the sea," he recalls.

Artur de Sacadura Freire Cabral was born on 23 May 1881 in Celorico da Beira, in the district of Guarda. At the age of sixteen, he entered the Naval School as a Naval Aspirant and graduated first in his course.

On 30 March 1922, Sacadura Cabral, the pilot, and Gago Coutinho, the navigator, began the first flight across the South Atlantic aboard the Fairey III seaplane, named "Lusitânia", with Rio de Janeiro as its final destination.

Three aircraft were used on this difficult journey and it was only after 4,527 miles had been covered in 62 hours and 26 minutes did Sacadura Cabral and Gago Coutinho arrive in Brazil on 17 June of that year.