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Surfers Took to the Water, and 5 Didn't Make It Out Alive

Dutch surfers caught in high winds, thick foam off The Hague
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2020 11:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – At least five surfers have died in a storm off The Hague, Netherlands. The men, aged 22 to 38, were described as experienced, with some reportedly serving as lifeguards and surf school instructors, per the Guardian. They'd been among a group of 10 surfers and swimmers who set out Monday evening in the Scheveningen district, which borders the North Sea. The group met trouble in the form of strong winds that hit nearly 40mph and a whole lot of sea foam, which the New York Times reports may have hampered surfers' efforts to make it back to shore. Rescuers were seen searching through waist-deep foam on the beach. 9News reports 4 bodies had been recovered by early Tuesday, with a fifth seen floating out to sea.

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Officials are unsure if more bodies could be found as more than six surfboards surfaced. The city is asking for help identifying the recovered boards. "It is still too early to definitively conclude what happened exactly and what combination of circumstances led to this fatal outcome," Acting Mayor Johan Remkes says, per 9News. He notes people were able to surf late into the evening at another harbor inlet just a football field's length away. Night Mayor Pat Smith says the group of "internationally trained lifeguards" were training when "they got lost in the foam … just like in an avalanche," per the NL Times. The paper notes the trouble came about five hours after a local surf school announced it was resuming surf lessons while abiding by social distancing rules. (Read more Netherlands stories.)

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