After an unfortunate turn of events, the Dutch surf community mourns a tragic loss. The bodies of five surfers, several of whom were believed to be seasoned watermen with professional experience in open-water swimming, were found in the water near Scheveningen, a popular surf hub in the Netherlands about 30 miles southwest of Amsterdam.
According to various news reports, a group went missing Monday evening after venturing out into the ocean during a particular heavy storm. After receiving their first call, the Dutch Coast Guard was able to rescue several people from the water last night, but two were later pronounced dead. When the search recommenced this morning, two more bodies were pulled from the North Sea and, according to the NYT, “one more was seen floating out to sea.” The Coast Guard ended its search in the early afternoon.
According to DutchNews.nl, ten people are thought to have been in the water Monday evening—a group of six, a group of three and one solo surfer. Three of those who passed were from The Hague, two from Delft and another is still missing. More details about the tragedy are still being investigated.
During the storm, a combination of waves and severe winds had blown a particularly thick layer of cappuccino-like seafoam toward the shore. “Some surfers told the news agency Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau that the thick foam made it especially difficult for those who had fallen from their boards to return to shore,” the Times noted. Other local witnesses say some went out for a bodysurf, struggling against the strong current and profuse foam.
The thick foam also made the search difficult for rescue workers. Photos show the Coast Guard searching the shore for those missing, thigh-deep in foam while a dispatched helicopter tried to blow it away from the shore to help locate bodies.
After hearing about the tragedy, local surfers and residents have taken to Instagram to express their grief and condolences, many sharing a graphic of five white herrings on a black background, referencing the Scheveningen flag.
Our sympathies go out to all the loved ones of those who lost their lives.
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Dark are the times we’re living in. I feel like this picture that we took a few days ago represents my feelings quite well at the moment: static, moody and most of all I feel drained (of color), dark and grey has my mind been the last 16 hours. • I am and always will be the guy looking for something good and positive in every situation. I try my best to make live all fun and games. But right now I want to share the feeling I maybe haven’t shared enough of in my life. • It’s been overwhelming how sadness and helpless I’ve felt during the shocking situation that’s been reality the last 16 hours. A group of fit and experienced surfers went out on a stormy day in Scheveningen and some never came back. My local break where I’ve surfed countless times. Where my friends and fellow surfers have been taken by the sea as if it was nothing. If I would have trusted anyone to be fine in these conditions it would be this knowledgeable group of people. You’ll be missed by many and never forgotten. • Tell your loved ones you love them and give them a big hug. You’ll be thankful later. ♥️ • 📸: @jophermans.photography
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Please watch over all the souls who lost their lives at sea🕯 . The Dutch surf community suffered a terrible blow these last 24 hours. A group of fit and very experienced watermen went out on a stormy day in Scheveningen, five of them lost their live doing what they love the most and felt most comfortable with, being in the sea. This loss, so intense and unexpected. . My condolences go out to family and friends who lost ones they love
This article originally appeared on Surfer.com and was republished with permission.
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