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It happened on the famous Scheveningen beach, which was full of flowers and bands of mourning.
The famous Scheveningen beach in the Netherlands, the destination of thousands of tourists and adventurers every summer, was the scene this week of a tragedy that authorities are still investigating. At least five surfers drowned after the beach’s water and sand was covered in a thick, high layer of foam.
As reported by the Royal Netherlands Maritime Rescue Organization (KNRM), despite a large-scale search operation, they only managed to save one member of a group of surfers , according to the BBC.
The organization explained that the marine foam, which according to some witnesses reached more than a meter in height, made rescue tasks difficult, as did the weather conditions.
According to the authorities, ” the search for the missing surfers was complicated by the person-sized layer of foam. The conditions of strong winds and high waves also made the task difficult.”
During the rescue, which involved police, firefighters, the coast guard, KNRM units and other emergency workers, authorities even used a helicopter to try to clear the foam, but the result was unsuccessful.
Finally, they could only rescue four bodies and the fifth, despite being spotted, was swallowed by the waters.
The accident generated unusual signs of mourning among the population of The Hague , the city where the beach is located, who went to the vicinity of the coast to pay tribute to the victims.
The city’s mayor, Johan Remkes, described the events as a “terrible tragedy” and promised an investigation to clarify the causes that led to the death of “young, physically fit athletes, who knew the sea like the back of their hands. hand”.
“The great pain among people of the community of Scheveningen is unfathomable. The people here understood better than anyone that the sea gives and takes away the sea, but the way in which so many young lives ended abruptly and so many families and groups of friends are they have been affected is incredibly brutal, “he said.
It is not the first time this year that high levels of sea foam have been reported in Europe. Last January, a dense layer flooded streets of the old town of Tossa de Mar, in Catalonia, Spain.
The Royal Netherlands Sea Research Institute (NIOZ) announced on Tuesday that it will conduct an investigation to determine the origin of the natural phenomenon that may have contributed to the tragedy.
“We take samples and we will analyze them quickly. We are also analyzing the conditions that allowed such a thick layer of foam to form,” they said.
According to a NIOZ report, the foam that had been concentrated off the coast comes from a species of algae that generally inhabits the waters of the North Sea.
The algae blooms in spring and, at the end of the flowering period, the cells disintegrate and a similar residual material is released, which when moved by the wind and waves forms this foam that floats in the water.
Given that good weather has recently been reported in the area, experts believe this may have contributed to the algae blooming and the colonies that form them to disintegrate.
According to KNRM, on the afternoon of the accident, a strong north wind was blowing , unusual at this time of year, which may have contributed to the increase in the level of the foam.
Source: Los Andes