Dutch man (45) missing for days on Curaçao

Correspondence to Dick Drayer from Curaçao:

I spoke here with François van der Hoeven, an experienced hiker. He is familiar with the area and told me that especially now that there is so much rain, the area has become impassable due to the vegetation.

If you stay on the trails, there’s nothing to worry about. As soon as you deviate from that and don’t have a compass or GPS with you, you are, as he says: lost. It is a hilly landscape and if you are a little higher you have a view of the sea, but you get lost because you cannot walk directly to your visible location.

According to Van der Hoeven, walking alone in the area is not really an option. The disappearance of his friend, also an experienced runner, in 2020 also proved this. Van der Hoeven says that his friend got lost on the way home. He had called to report that.

A day and a half later, the man was found between two paths. He had suffered a brain haemorrhage as a result of fluid loss. According to Van der Hoeven, he had chosen to walk directly to a landmark, which is really impossible in this area.

He adds that if you walk in the low parts close to the sea, you can no longer see landmarks because of the vegetation. This puts you at risk of walking in circles.

In addition, the ground there is rocky and hilly, so you can fall quickly. It is very dangerous without sturdy clothing, says Van der Hoeven. The local nature organization offers guided walks for a reason.

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