Dutch coastguards scrambled helicopters and divers to search for three sailors missing in the North Sea after their ship sank following a collision with a fishing trawler early Monday.
The accident happened at around 1:30 a.m. when the 32-meter Maria, a ship deployed to guard an oil drilling platform about 40 kilometers southwest of the Dutch navy port of Den Helder, collided with fishing trawler Texel 68.
“We have divers who will explore the wreck, two helicopters and lots of boats are taking part in the search,” coastguard spokesman Peter Westenberg told Agence France-Presse.
Fishermen aboard the Texel 68 said they had seen all five of the Maria’s crew on the bridge wearing life jackets immediately after the collision.
“Two crew members were rescued but the other three are still missing,” he said, adding that they could be trapped inside the boat.
The sailors could survive several hours in the North Sea waters, which are still relatively warm at this time of year at around 16 degrees.
The coastguard declined to say what nationality the missing crew members were, but said they were not Dutch.
Westenberg said the cause of the crash was “a mystery”.
The most serious recent incident off the busy Dutch coast happened last December when a cargo ship collided with the car-carrier Baltic Ace off the port of Rotterdam, killing 11 sailors. AFP