The Dutch Coast Guard staff will not soon forget the sight: a little girl is crouching on a buoy in the middle of the Veluwemeer – in mortal fear. The canoe in which the child was traveling with his family from Wuppertal in North Rhine-Westphalia capsized. A feverish search begins. But in vain.
On Friday, one day after the tragic canoe accident, there was certainty: the father (42) of the German family and the mother (32) did not survive. The other five-year-old daughter was also found dead, according to the police in Biddinghuizen.
The police have not yet been able to provide any information about the cause of the accident in the holiday region, which is particularly popular with families. “We are now investigating all open questions,” said a police spokesman for the German Press Agency. The family vacationed in the region. The rescued girl is said to be doing well given the circumstances.
On Thursday, the family took a borrowed canoe to the Veluwemeer, a tributary of the IJsselmeer about 75 kilometers northeast of Amsterdam. The police were alerted at around 3 p.m.: A child had to be rescued from the water. It was the seven-year-old girl on the buoy who was then taken to the hospital.
A little later, the Coast Guard discovered the canoe near a small island – empty. The mother was found dead around 3:40 p.m. Paramedics tried to revive her – to no avail. Boats were used, a police helicopter, a Coast Guard plane, divers and sonar machines to find bodies underwater.
The search was then stopped when it was dark. However, later around 10 p.m. another man was found dead – the father. A day later the little girl too.
Many questions are open. Why did the canoe capsize? At the time of the accident the weather was good. It may have been rocked by a faster boat as it passed and flipped over, a Coast Guard spokesman said.
The Veluwemeer is a very popular region. On the shores are campsites, cottages, marinas and beaches – a paradise for families too. The water is not considered dangerous, you can even stand in most places. Only in the fairway in the middle is it a good three meters deep. The family is said not to have worn life jackets. The police are now investigating that too.