Belgian Seakings involved in search for missing seamen

At least five people are dead after a ship carrying cars and a containership collided in a busy shipping lane off the Dutch coast. The Baltic Ace sailed from the Flemish port of Zeebrugge on Wednesday afternoon and was bound for Finland. It collided with the Corvus J, a container ship that was headed for Antwerp in Belgium and had been sailing from Scotland.

A further six people were still missing on Thursday morning and the subject of a search involving Seaking helicopters.

Earlier Seaking helicopters brought 13 people found on life rafts to safety.

Colonel Peter Van den Broucke of the Belgian air force base at Koksijde where the Seakings are stationed confirmed that even though the search had resumed there was little chance of finding people still alive: "With these temperatures the average survival time in the water is half an hour."

The Belgian emergency services and Belgian air force helicopters were involved in the rescue operation. Again his morning a Belgian Seaking helicopter took part in the search.

The Governor of West Flanders Province, Carl Decaluwé, told VRT News that given the situation our crews were at the scene quickly: "This speed really helped to save lives."