Friday 18 October 2019

Eritrean man picked up in North Sea on home-made raft

Photo: Ko van Leeuwen

The Dutch sea rescue services on Sunday rescued an Eritrean man who was trying to cross the North Sea to England on a home-made raft.

The KNRM said it picked up the man on Sunday morning near IJmuiden, the port to the west of Amsterdam, close to a busy shipping route.

The triangular raft had been made out of tree trncks and plastic plant pots filled with plastic bottles and polystyrene for buoyancy and tied together with rope. It had a plastic sail, and carried a jerrycan of water and a solar panel to power a mobile phone.

According to the Noordhollands Dagblad, the man wanted to take advantage of the ebb tide to reach the wider sea and was completely reliant on wind and the tides for the 190 kilometre crossing.

The man, said to be 26 years old, is being questioned by border police.

‘I have never seen anything like this and I hope it is the last time I do,’ KNRM captain Walter Schol said. ‘The raft is not at all seaworthy and he was very lucky with the weather, otherwise this could have ended very differently.’

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