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    Hundreds turn out for funeral of Frederik Vanclooster

    Credit: Federal Police

    Hundreds of people turned out at the Eppegem crematorium in Zemst yesterday for the funeral of Frederik Vanclooster, the 21-year-old student who died after accidentally falling into the canal by Vilvoorde.

    Frederik went missing after last being seen at a party in the Kruitfabriek, an events space next to the Brussels-Scheldt canal in Vilvoorde. Hundreds of volunteers came out to take part in a search on land, while the Brussels and Vilvoorde fire brigades sounded the canal with a sonar boat and divers, and the missing persons squad of the federal police brought in a helicopter to search the River Senne.

    Frederik’s body was found in the canal last Sunday morning, just 30m from the Kruitfabriek. An autopsy showed he had fallen in the water on New Year’s Eve and suffered a sudden shock from the cold water, and drowned on the spot.

    Frederik’s family was present, together with friends from scouts, school and university. Employees of the Flemish public broadcaster VRT came out to support his parents, both of whom work for the organisation. And members of the Vilvoorde public, many of whom had taken part in the initial search, turned out to fill both auditoriums of the crematorium as well as the central hall.

    Also present was Vilvoorde mayor Hans Bonte, who described the proceedings as “remarkably beautiful”, calling it “the warmest funeral I have ever attended”. Bonte was there to represent the city administration, which last week named Frederik posthumously as a city ambassador, a title that had originally been presented to his parents, journalists Kristien Bonneure and Lucas Vanclooster.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times