Dangerous currents off the Dutch coast

17th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

A number of coast guard rescues and a drowning Wednesday are harsh reminders that the North Sea is 'one of the most dangerous in the world.'

The Hague – Despite its harmless appearance, the Dutch coast has a dangerous secret – channel currents.

De Volkskrant defined a 'channel current' Friday as an extremely strong undertow near breakwaters that occurs at low tide.

Wind conditions can make these currents, which can reach speeds of up to seven kilometres an hour, even more dangerous.

While the Netherlands has a system of warning flags for dangerous swimming conditions – red for danger and yellow for caution, for example – several dozens of beach-goers were already rescued this summer.

In The Hague Wednesday, the voluntary coast guard rescued 34 swimmers due to channel currents.

Two weeks earlier, another 31 people in The Hague were pulled out to sea by the same current after swimming too close to the breakwaters. All the swimmers were rescued, and two victims were admitted to the hospital.

A 12-year-old girl in the province of Zeeland drowned Wednesday when she swam after a floating toy that was taken out to sea by a combination of strong winds and currents.

Several rescue attempts by her father and the local coast guard could not save the girl in time.

Radio Netherlands / Jennifer Evans / Expatica

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