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Published on : Monday, August 22, 2016
According to media reports Friesland provincial police tweeted that they were investigating how the mast broke near the port town of Harlingen, 68 miles north of Amsterdam.
Police say the victims, whose identities were not immediately released, were part of a family group of 12 Germans on the ship.
Speaking to the media, Harlingen mayor Roel Sluiter called the incident “a terribly tragic accident.”
The ship was returning from a trip to the Wadden Sea. The skipper of the boat, who also owned it, has been arrested.
The three dead are German holidaymakers aged 19, 43 and 48. There were 14 people on board the boat when the mast snapped – 12 members of a German family, the skipper and his wife.
The Dutch safety board has begun an investigation into the seaworthiness of the yacht, which is said to date from 1898. It is as yet unclear what exactly happened on board.
Harlingen is a fishing village on the Wadden Sea and a popular holiday resort. The yacht was on its way back to the harbour after a trip on the open water when the accident happened.