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Five surfers are dead after a tragic incident at Scheveningen Beach, a well-known surfing spot in Holland. Search and rescue crews located the victims’ bodies off the Dutch coast near The Hague.

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“When a group of people went surfing early in the evening, no one expected that some would not come home,” The Hague Mayor Johan Remkes said in a statement.

While details surrounding exactly what occurred are still murky, numerous outlets are reporting that a group of surfers paddled out on Monday evening amid rough sea conditions. Gusts of wind up to 40 miles per hour whipped the ocean into a frenzy and created a large amount of sea foam. When the authorities were alerted that the surfers were in trouble that night, rescue service KNRM, paramedics, air ambulances, police, and firefighters all responded. The conditions, however, made the search almost impossible.

According to reports, two bodies were pulled from the water on Monday evening. The wind and swell piled the sea foam up and, as darkness fell, the search was called off at 10:45 p.m. Three surfers were still missing at the time. Tragically, they were found on Tuesday morning when the search resumed.

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“Two victims have so far been recovered this morning,” the Coast Guard confirmed shortly before the body of the third dead person was discovered. “One confirmed missing person is still being searched for by the various emergency services.”

Rescuers waded through the thick foam searching for the victims for hours, and a helicopter was brought in to blow some of the foam away.

Several of the victims were experienced surfers. “I knew two of these guys very well,” The Hague’s night mayor, Pat Smith, told a local radio station. “Like me, they were internationally trained lifeguards. They have worked in Australia and received heavy training from an international water sports association. Yesterday they were training on the water. They got lost in the foam.”

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