30 YEARS ON: Derbyshire and Notts Zeebrugge ferry disaster victims remembered

Nearly 200 people were killed when the Herald of Free Enterprise capsized minutes after leaving the Belgian port of Zeebrugge 30 years ago today.

Monday, 6th March 2017, 2:12 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:46 am
Rescue workers stand on the side of the half-submerged car ferry Herald of Free Enterprise which capsized off the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.

The ferry was heading back to Dover with more than 500 people on board when the tragedy happened, after the vessel left the harbour with its bow door open.

More than half of those on board survived but almost 193 people, including some from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, were killed.

Maureen Edwards and Sadersham Lal Singhal from Mansfield Woodhouse and Kiran Parsons, also of Nottinghamshire, all perished in the disaster.

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Derbyshire couple Richard Hartley and his wife Hazel, together with his parents Joseph and Elsie and family friend Patricia, were also among the dead.

Richard and Hazel’s eight-year-old son Martin survived the tragedy.

At the time it was reported how the brave youngster returned to school in Cotmanhay just days after being orphaned.

Speaking to the media, the then deputy principal at Cotmanhay Junior School John Flindall said: “He’s very badly bruised, but he’s more mobile than I anticipated. He was kicking a football around in the lounge. He’s talking very matter-of-factly about things.”

The youngster suffered cuts and bruises - mainly to his legs - after being hit by flying furniture and other debris as the vessel capsized.

His heart-breaking story attracted media attention from across the globe, with the LA Times and Washington Post both reporting on his tragic plight.

The sinking was the worst peacetime maritime disaster involving a British ship since 1919.

A number of events to remember those who lost their lives are being held today.

Were you affected? Do you remember the tragic events of March 6, 1987? Get in touch with our newsdesk.