Two hurt, one seriously, in sunken ship rescue mission; Search halted over weather

Coastguard and KNRM search the North Sea for sunken cutter Lummetje and missing fishermen Jochem  Foppen and Hendrik-Jan de Vries, 28 Nov 2019
Coastguard and KNRM search the North Sea for sunken cutter Lummetje and missing fishermen Jochem Foppen and Hendrik-Jan de Vries, 28 Nov 2019Netherlands Coastguard/@Kustwacht_nlTwitter

Two rescue workers were injured during a search and rescue mission for a sunken fishing cutter and two missing sailors from Urk on the North Sea on Thursday. One of the two rescuers sustained "serious injuries" to his back, the other bruised his ribs. The search for the two missing sailors, identified as 41-year-old Jochem Foppen and 27-year-od Hendrik-Jan de Vries, was halted for Friday due to bad weather conditions.

The two rescue workers were injured when the lifeboat they were on ended up in a deep wave valley. "The boat shot over a wave and then fell into a deep valley. That fall was about five meters, a huge blow", spokesperson Kees Brinkman of water rescue organization KNRM said to newspaper AD. One of the rescue workers hurt his back and lost feeling in his legs. "He had to go to the hospital, but luckily he could walk home afterwards. The other bruised a few ribs. Fortunately it ended well for them."

The Coastguard center in Den Helder received an emergency alarm from the fishing vessel UK165, called Lummetje, at around 5:46 a.m. on Thursday. The alarm was sent from the Global Maritime Distress Safety System, which sends an alert when the beacon comes into contact with water, for example if a ship is sinking. The Lummetje was located about 7 kilometers west of Texel at the time.

KNRM believes that the fishing cutter capsized unexpectedly, resulting in the fishermen having no time to raise the alarm themselves or get to safety. The Zr.Ms. Makkum, a naval ship designed to search for sea mines, searched the area around where the boat disappeared with its sonar equipment and most likely located it a few hours after the alarm. But due to the high waves and bad weather conditions, divers could not be sent in to search the wreck.

For almost 12 hours KNRM and the Netherlands Coastguard searched the North Sea for Foppen and De Vries, but to no avail. Rescue workers stopped searching around 5:00 p.m., when it became too dark to see. The search cannot continue on Friday, due to sustained winds at sea up to 38 kilometers per hour and waves of up to four meters. KNRM hopes to resume the search on Saturday. 

Tags: