Speedboat pilot faces manslaughter charge

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The man who was piloting the speedboat that killed two men in the Vinkeveense Plassen (ponds) Saturday, is being charged with manslaughter.

The 49-year-old will be heard by an investigating judge today. Two of his fellow passengers –a 26-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man from Amstelveen-, still remain in jail as well and will also be heard today. Three others –a man from Nieuwkoop and two women aged 23 and 53- have meanwhile been released, but they are still listed as suspects in the case.

The incident sent shock waves through the community of Leusden where the two victims Ernst Noordijk (51) and Johan Koetje (42) were from, but also in Vinkeveen. “This is a very extreme incident for our ponds,” said deputy mayor Anco Goldhoorn.

The deceased men had been enjoying a relaxed “men only” boating trip on a barge in the ponds with close friends Mark (47) and Mike (44), when the speedboat crashed into them. Ernst and Johan were killed instantly; Mark and Mike survived.

The speed limit on the ponds is six kilometers per hour, but police suspect the speedboat was going too fast and probably has insufficient lights on. After the accident the pilot sped away from the scene; all five occupants were arrested on Sunday. “We are still investigating who exactly did what,” said police spokesman Peter Keijzer. “The always control for speed limit, (so) what happened here is dramatic and excessive.”