Mast breaks off ship at sea and lands on girl, killing her
A school trip ended in tragedy on Wednesday when a freak accident left one girl dead. A group of young people involved with a school in The Hague were on a chartered sailing ship when a mast broke off and landed on the victim.
The incident happened at about noon while the group was at sea near Terschelling, police in Friesland said. The boat came ashore about 25 kilometers away in the harbor of Harlingen. There were about 15 people on the boat in total.
"The victim is an underage girl," police said. She died at the scene from her injuries. Victim's assistance was being arranged for the other people on the boat. A police investigation was organized to determine the cause of the accident.
"It is a terrible and dramatic accident that the children witnessed," said Harlingen Mayor Ina Sjerps in a statement. She visited the Entrepotgebouw in Harlingen where the victims were gathered.
In a separate incident six years ago, the mast of the sailing ship Amicitia broke off and toppled over near Harlingen. Three people were killed in that incident, and the captain was taken into custody. An investigation by the Dutch Safety Board determined that the wood had largely rotted through before the mast snapped.
The board called for better supervision and maintenance of special, historic ships.
Reporting by ANP