May 19th, 2013: Ostend Rescue operation
We were standing in line to take the next ferry to cross to the other side of the harbour in Ostend. As usual I had my camera around my neck and was taking some pictures, when I heard a splash right behind me. A car had driven into the sea. Luckily it was a sunny day and lots of people were near the place where it happened and two boys jumped immediately into the sea trying to rescue the female driver.
My kids were shocked when she closed the windows of her car and showed no signs of wanting to leave the sinking car. My images were published in some Belgian newspapers and on national television and may give the impression that I was very near but they were taken on 400 mm ( I happened to have a 2x converter on my 70-200 zoom lens). We were on the other side with the bikes and could not get out of the queue or do anything to help as the person next to me had already called the emergency number.
As my originals show the face of the driver and the license plate of the car out of privacy concerns I only publish a copy of the newspaper featuring six of my images where they made the face and license plate invisible.
The boat of the harbour police was there within a few minutes but they did not go into the water.
The car continued to sink and finally the woman opened the door of the car and one of the boys managed to get her onto the shore where the fire brigade and ambulance were waiting.
Luckily everybody survived unharmed and a few minutes later only the antenna of the car was still visible.
For those in doubt, I did not sell the images to the newspapers as I thought it would be inappropriate to make a financial gain out of this dramatic situation.
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