Friday, 21 August 2015

Netherlands: Urk fisherman identified after more than 47 years

[Translated from Dutch]
More than 47 years after the Urk fishing vessel UK 91 with five crew on board perished, one of the passengers has been identified as 28-year-old Albert Zwaan. He remained unidentified and buried in a special cemetery in Schiermonnikoog, the municipality of Urk confirmed Friday.

The identification was done by DNA testing in collaboration with the Dutch Forensic Institute (NFI). The Fisherman's family had provided a DNA sample in June this year and then compared with genetic material in the database for missing persons. "There was a quick match," said Izanne Linden of the cold case team central Netherlands.

UK 91 sank during a storm on January 24, 1968 about 20 kilometers north of Ameland. A corpse washed ashore on Schiermonnikoog months later, but could not be identified with the technology at that time and it could not be established who he was. The identity has now been confirmed as Albert Zwaan.

The cold case team and the NFI went to Urk this summer to collect DNA samples. "Family members of 32 missing fishermen were given the opportunity to donate DNA," says De Wit-Linden. "Many people took that opportunity."

The cemetery on Schiermonnikoog exhumed five graves last year to collect DNA material from the unidentified remains. For reasons of privacy, the cold case team can not say if families of the other crew members of the UK 91, which have not been found either, have provided their DNA.

The identification is part of a major project to identify seven hundred unknown bodies buried in the Netherlands.

Friday 21 August 2015


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