No one wants to fall overboard or into the sea from a sinking ship but the thought of slowly drowning with a couple of feet of seafoam above my head has been especially terrifying for me. I feel bad for these guys & for their friends & family.
That is just hard to comprehend. The surfers are usually the rescuers. Very sad here.
Four bodies were found, a fifth is still missing. They were very experienced and more than fit. All five were body surfers meaning that they surf without any floating equipment to keep the head above water in case of emergency. Most have fins for better contact with the sea. It is also a very tiring sport.
The idea is that they lost their sense of orientation by lack of sight in the dense foam which can extend up to one meters above their heads. Under these circumstances you don’t know where you are going. In theory in bright sunlight you must try to keep the sun, if possible, which is in the west in the afternoon in your back and surf in the blind east to the shore.
The amount of foam was unusual and they are going to investigate what caused this. It could be a result of all the phosphate that is dumped in the rivers and end up in the sea.
When I think of foam, I think of protein. As you mentioned it might be phosphate related, in that phosphate is a fertilizing agent. It might have led to an increase in a certain type of algae. The algae dies off, releases protein, and creates the foam.
Flowers are laid for the victims at the surf school.
The rescue boats were unable to locate the bodies of the drowned surfers due to the excessive foam. Therefore the attending helicopter was asked to hover over the boats and so blow away the foam.
As it turns out the foam is a well known phenomenon in the month of May also referred to as ‘may suds’, ”says a biologist, who has been studying algae for three decades. The foam is created by phaeocystis, an algae species that grows in the North Sea in April and dies in May. “In the event of turbulence, the residues that then remain are whipped into foam. It resembles the foam like a beer, it is a combination of protein and carbohydrate. ”
Scheveningen is known for the foam layer. Thanks to fertilizers that mainly flow into the sea from the Rhine, the algae grow enthusiastically. And so there are many residuals to beat. Especially if the wind, like the past few days, is strong from the west or north. "You can easily swim or walk through it, and I have never had any indication that it is dangerous. But it is sticky. Hence the brown color: bugs and sand stick to it. So I imagine that makes it difficult to find a drowning person. ”
The search for the fifth surfer has been resumed today. If the body is not floating it will be hard to find. With the special wet suits which the surfers use the cold of the North Sea water can be resisted for about an hour.
In retrospect and based on the facts as mentioned above, you could say that they never should have gone body surfing, they should have closed the beach for that sport under these dangerous circumstances.