Model drowns trying to save puppies
A Brazilian model was found dead after she jumped into the sea while trying to save her puppies in the midst of a fierce storm.
Caroline Bittencourt's body was found near Cigarras Beach, in the northern region of Sao Paulo, on Monday afternoon, The Sun reports.
The 37-year-old's husband Jorge Sestini reported her missing on Sunday after she fell from their boat.
But in a desperate bid to find her himself, Jorge swam through waters close to the island of Ilhabela for at least three hours, before he was rescued by officials.
The pair had been cruising on a catamaran near an island in Sao Paulo on Sunday.
Before the wind picked up, reaching over 100 kilometres per hour, she posted on her Instagram story, smiling and enjoying time on their boat.
But after the storm came in, local reports claim their boat turned, throwing their puppies off board.
Ms Bittencourt went head first into the sea trying to save their puppies.
'STATE OF SHOCK'
Her close friend, Can Saad, 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."
Ms Bittencourt, who also worked as a TV presenter, made headlines after she was asked to leave Brazilian ex-footballer Ronaldo's wedding to Daniella Cicarelli back in February 2005.
LIFE HAD JUST BEGUN
She and Jorge, 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.
Ms Bittencourt'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."
Her former modelling agency, OXYgen Models expressed heartache.
They said in a statement: "We appreciate all the trust she placed in us in these years of work and partnership.
"Our condolences go to her friends and family. We are in mourning."
Ms Bittencourt's only child, Isabelle Bittencourt, 17, posted a touching message of thanks on Instagram.
She said: "We are grateful for the support and affectionate messages we have received from Carol's friends and fans.
"This energy drive fills our hearts with so much love."
Reports around the time Ms Bittencourt was asked to leave Ronaldo's wedding suggested it was to do with 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 Ms Bittencourt and Ms Cicarelli was at the event.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and is published here with permission.