Body of missing bargeman found in Dendermonde

A salvage team has found the body of the missing bargeman from a vessel that sank in the Scheldt river near Dendermonde last week.

The barge sank on 7 August but could not be recovered until 14 August. The strong currents and tides in the Scheldt complicated the salvage operation. A rescue team partially raised the 50 m vessel loaded with bricks from the water on Wednesday but could not board the ship, which needed further stabilisation. 

The East Flanders public prosecutor's office has now confirmed that the body of the bargeman was found on the vessel on Wednesday night. It will be taken to the UZ Antwerpen hospital for an autopsy and the police victim support service will support the family.

"The salvage operation is under way. The ship will be further stabilised. The public prosecutor's expert will then tow the vessel away for further investigation," said a statement from the public prosecutor's office and the city council of Dendermonde. We would like to express our condolences to the family, friends and acquaintances of the victim and thank the emergency services for their efforts."

The family of the victim, a man from Charleroi, was present when his body was found. He was accompanied on the boat by two dogs, a German shepherd and a chihuahua. One of the dogs was found dead on Wednesday evening, indicating that the man and his dogs had been unable to save themselves in time as the barge began to sink. 

A total of 57 people were involved in Wednesday's rescue operation. Dutch specialist company Hebo worked closely with the emergency services and the public prosecutor's office. The Civil Protection service sent 14 people, including six divers, and the police had 32 people on the scene.


#FlandersNewsService | A rescue boat approaches the barge on the Scheldt in Dendermonde on 7 August 2023 © BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ

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