veronique laurent blond
Veronique and Laurent Blond, circled
The search for missing tourist couple Laurent and Véronique Blond on the north coast of the island of Madeira has been suspended since Tuesday due to bad weather, the public security police service (PSP) said today - adding that the operation could soon be called off for good.

"At the moment, weather conditions don't allow us to continue the search. It has been suspended. We are working on information and, depending on whether we have new information, we will decide whether or not to resume the search" explained Commissioner João Góis, speaking to journalists in Funchal.

Góis said that if the operation is resumed, the perimeter of the investigation will be widened, as the area closest to where the tourists were staying, in Fajã da Areia, in the parish and district of São Vicente, has already been " thoroughly searched more than once".

"On Monday, we searched again, because the weather conditions allowed it. We went out with our search, rescue and mountain rescue brigade and we also had the support of the Civil Protection and National Republican Guard drone teams," he said.

João Góis reiterated that "the possibility of not resuming the search" is now on the table if there is "no more evidence, no more information".

The tourists, both French, from a town near Toulouse, were on holiday in Madeira with their daughter Johanna, all of them staying in short-term rental accommodation.

The alert of their disappearance was raised by the couple's daughter, on the afternoon of Saturday March 16.

As Lusa's report today states: "The holidaymakers disappeared without a trace".

It is yet another mystery for the island that has now had SIX foreign holidaymakers 'disappear without a trace' in the space of roughly three years.

Not one clue has been found pointing to what might have happened to British fell runner Darren Kay, Polish mountain trail runner Michel Kozek or hikers Jascha Paul Hardenberg (German) and later Benoit Way (French). And now this couple too, who run a bakery in Beaumont-de-Lomagne, appear to have literally vanished into thin air.

There has, at one point in this latest case, been the mention of 'possible crime' being involved. But it was only a passing mention, and appears to have alluded to the possibility that the couple may have been considering suicide. This possibility was later discounted.

Lusa concludes its report, saying: "the search operation is being coordinated by the Madeira Regional Public Security Police Command and also involves the Judicial Police (PJ), the National Republican Guard (GNR), the Madeira Operational Command, the Regional Civil Protection Service, SANAS and the National Maritime Authority".