Rescuers watched as man drowned off Amsterdam Noord: report

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According to Dries Verheul, it is because of lack of performance by the water police that a man drowned at Houthavens in IJ on Saturday, Het Parool reports. Verheul and approximately 18 rescuers saw how the man drowned.

Verheul spotted the the man swimming in the water from the restaurant Remeiland on the Haparandadam and called 112. According to him, the man could have been saved. "I saw a man swimming in the water, his coat floated around him. I immediately dialed 112 and asked that the water police that have a post on the IJ be sent, a few minutes sailing by fast boat." He said to Het Parool. The KLPD Water Police is close by, at the Westerdoksdijk.

The police and firefighters arried on the shore. "Later a diving team of the firefighters also arrived. I indicated to the control room several times that the water police had to come quickly." said Verheul. The man disappeared underwater about 15 minutes later. "While the massive turnout of emergency services, about 18 men strong, stood on the shore and watched."

The man's body was found last night. Verheul is shocked. "All services arrived, but they did not listen to my request to send a boat. If the situation was assessed appropriately, a life could have been saved."

The police don't think that they acted insufficiently, Het Parool reports. "Fourteen minutes after the report there were ambulance personnel in a boat from the port service on the way. It also appears from facts and circumstances that this man wanted to die."

According to a police spokesperson Frans Zuiderhoek, the police acted properly. "Especially when you consider that a rescue operation is the responsibility of the fire department. The 112 message arrived in Drebergen. It was immediately diverted to the joint control room of police and fire brigade in Amsterdam. I do not think that the advent of the National Police has something to do with the drowning of this man."