The father of a drowned Brazilian model said she did not jump into the sea to rescue her puppies, but was knocked into the water by a huge wave.
Caroline Bittencourt was missing on Sunday after falling into the sea during a storm off Sao Paulo and was later found dead near Cigarras Beach yesterday afternoon, 14 miles from where she disappeared.
Ms Bittencourt’s husband Jorge Sestini was rescued on Sunday around two hours after jumping into the water to make a failed attempt to save her.
The model’s own father Orley Bitterncourt took part in the search for her and told a TV programme how he helped pull her body from the sea.
Local media initially reported the 37-year-old has died after jumping into the ocean to save her two drowning dogs.
But her father Mr Bitterncourt denied she jumped in to save the animals and said she was blown from a boat into the water during a storm.
Model Caroline Bittencourt died after jumping into the ocean to rescue her pet puppies that were blown into the water by a storm. Her husband Jorge Sestini (pictured together) was rescued after trying to save her
Jorge was reportedly in a state of shock yesterday, after having to swim for hours towards the coast to survive
In a video posted to IGTV, Caroline was shown dancing with one of her dogs to celebrate finishing her training – although it is unclear whether this was one of the puppies which fell overboard on Sunday
He Brazil’s TV Band News: ‘It was nothing more than an accident caused by the storm itself, which hit the coast of Sao Paulo on Sunday. The claims are untrue and inaccurate, and I would ask people to listen to the facts.
‘Jorge told me a wave hit the side of the boat and the strength of that and strong winds unbalanced Carol and she fell into the water.
‘Jorge jumped in to help her. He wasn’t able to throw a float or anything towards her because the distance between them was great because the currents took her quickly.
‘He could see Carol and she tried to swim to the boat. He begged her to remain calm because he was coming to get her.
‘But he could see her disappearing under the water and he couldn’t reach her as the storm separated them. He searched for my daughter for more than three hours and lost sight of the boat.’
Caroline Bittencourt’s body was recovered from the sea on Monday afternoon after she went overboard the day before to try and rescue her pet puppies
Bittencourt (pictured) worked as a TV presenter and model and had a 17-year-old daughter from a previous relationship
It was claimed by a friend of Caroline, known to Carol as friends, that she ended up in the sea after trying to save two pet puppies that had fallen into the water.
Personal trainer Can Saad, a close friend, said: ‘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. He had to swim three hours towards the coast to survive.’
The tragedy happened as the couple, who married in January, were near Ilhabela, a large island near Sao Paulo which means ‘beautiful island’ in English and offers visitors around 25 miles of pristine beaches, hiking trails and waterfalls.
Caroline’s agent Andreia Boneti said her husband was in a ‘state of shock’, adding: ‘Jorge tried to save her. He saw Carol drowning and wasn’t able to save her. It was a terrible moment for him.’
Caroline Bittencourt participates in the general rehearsal of the samba school prior to the 2012 Carnival at the Anhembi Sambodromo in Sao Paulo, Brazil
The tragedy happened as the couple, who married in January, were near Ilhabela, a large island near Sao Paulo which means ‘beautiful island’ in English
Bittencourt, who also worked as a TV presenter, made the headlines after being asked to leave Brazilian ex-footballer Ronaldo’s wedding to Daniella Cicarelli in France in February 2005.
Reports around the time Caroline was asked to leave Ronaldo’s wedding suggested it was to do the fact she was wearing a white dress like the bride.
A friend of Ronaldo’s later claimed it was because a businessman who had romanced both Caroline and Daniella was at the event.
She had a 17-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.
On Sunday night a male model died after collapsing on the catwalk during Sao Paulo’s Fashion Week.
Doctors said afterwards Tales Soares, 26, may have had an undiagnosed congenital illness.