Bodies of missing Urk fishermen found in sunken ship

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

The bodies of two men were found in sunken fishing cutter Lummetje in the North Sea early on Sunday afternoon. While official identification is still in progress, the victims are almost certainly 27-year-old Hendrik-Jan de Vries and 41-year-old Jochem Foppen, who disappeared with the Lummetje on Thursday. "It is good for the families that the uncertainty has come to an end", Mayor Ineke Bakker of Urk said in a statement, De Gelderlander reports.

Lummetje left the Den Helder port at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday. At around 5:46 a.m. on Thursday, the Coastguard center in Den Helder received an emergency alarm from the fishing vessel. 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.

A naval ship with sonar equipment quickly managed to locate the sunken ship, but due to poor weather conditions, no divers could be deployed to search the wreck on Thursday or Friday. On Sunday, divers finally managed to search the fishing cutter. The two bodies were found in the wheelhouse, according to the newspaper. 

On Monday the flag will hang half-mast at the town hall "as a sign of collective mourning", mayor Bakker said. She will convey the municipality's condolences to the families. "I hope the bodies can be released to the families as soon as possible after identification and research", she said. "The families can now say goodbye to their loved ones and Urk can sympathize. It is precisely in moments like this that there is great mutual connection on Urk."

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