On Sunday, a devastating and unprecedented day, four people drowned off the Dutch coast. Emergency responders were able to resuscitate the swimmers but they did not survive. 

Sunday was a very busy day for the rescue brigade. In total, 120 people were rescued from the sea, including four who ultimately did not survive. “It is a really black day, really bad. A sad day, I have never experienced it that extreme,” a spokesperson for Kennemerland Safety Region told Hart van Nederland.

Four lives lost

The first of the victims, a 28-year-old man, was taken out of the water in the early afternoon on Sunday at Zuiderstrand. He was rescued and resuscitated but died on the way to the hospital.

Several hours later, another man, 24, was pulled from the water. He too was resuscitated but did not make it to the hospital.

Later in the evening, another person was reported to have died, taken out of the water at Zandvoort. He was reported by bystanders to have been between 14 and 16 years old, reports Hart van Nederland.

Around 8:30 pm, yet another person was rescued from the water at Wijk aan Zee. As with the others, emergency services worked to resuscitate the victim, but their efforts were of no avail. 


The red flag has been raised

Across the entire Dutch coast, the red flag has been raised — swimming is strongly discouraged due to dangerous currents. An NL alert message was sent, reading,  “Enter the water up to knee height, follow directions from the rescue brigade and emergency services.” 


A rescue brigade spokesperson said that the combination of offshore wind and currents in the sea creates a “very treacherous” situation. A busy day on the beach only complicated matters. “Emergency workers can barely drive vehicles on the beach,” a spokesperson told NOS

The red flag is not often raised, but the past week was exceptional. A few days ago it was raised on the Zuiderstrand as well. This also follows last week’s drowning of a 37-year-old Polish man who rescued three children from the water at Juliandorp.

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Feature Image: paulbr75/Pixabay


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