Sea captain found dead in 1953 identified seven decades later

A DNA sample given by a son helped the police finally identify a man whose body washed ashore on Terschelling in 1953. The man was identified Andries Penning, captain of seafaring ship Westland, the police said in a statement on Monday.

The Westland sunk with seven people onboard on the night of the 1953 North Sea flood, en route from Germany to England. Penning's body washed ashore on Terschelling three months later. He was buried in grave O-2 on Terschelling as an unidentified person.

A few months ago, after visiting the wrecks museum on Terschelling, Penning's 69-year-old son reported to the police to give a DNA sample. His DNA was matched to the man buried in grave O-2. The son was informed about his father's whereabouts in September, the police said.

The police call on family members of longtime missing persons to consider giving a DNA sample for the DNA database. 

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