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Dutch coast guard launches search for missing fishing boat

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch coast guard launched a large-scale search operation Thursday, involving a naval minesweeper, helicopters and other vessels after a fishing boat went missing and very likely sank in the North Sea.

Two people were on board the UK-165 boat when its emergency beacon was activated early Thursday about seven kilometers (four miles) west of the island of Texel in the northern Netherlands, the coast guard said.

The navy minesweeper, using its sonar, located what was thought to be the sunken boat, but the wind-tossed sea was too rough for divers to inspect the seabed, according to a coast guard statement. Earlier, a search and rescue helicopter saw a raft floating near the location where the beacon was activated, but there was nobody on board.

The Dutch west coast was being buffeted by strong winds at the time the boat went missing. Several other fishing boats also headed to the area to help search for the missing boat, which came from the close-knit fishing community of Urk.

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