‘Our worst nightmare has become a reality’ - heartbroken wife pays emotional tribute at fishing boat skipper’s funeral

The three men rescued from the life raft Picture: Alexandra Rosen/PA Wire

The three men rescued from the life raft Picture: Alexandra Rosen/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The wife of a fishing boat skipper who died after his vessel sank off Great Yarmouth has paid an emotional tribute to him at his funeral.

Kurt Slibinck, 48, was part of a five-man crew on the Zeebrugge-based Sonja that sank on Saturday, August 25 about 20 miles off the coast without sending out a mayday.

The body of Mr Slibinck and crewman Roger Zoete, 60, were found the next day close to where their Belgian-registered boat had sank by a Coastguard helicopter.

The funeral of Slibinck, who was from the Belgian town of Moerkerke, was held at the end of last week and it was reported locally his wife, Muriel, said they were looking forward to spending more time with their family and hoped to run a bed and breakfast.

She is reported as saying: “We will no longer be able to fulfil those dreams. Dear honey, you have been snatched away from us in a terrible way. We knew that the sea involved risks.

“Our worst nightmare has become a reality. We were looking forward to our thirtieth wedding anniversary next year. You were the love of my life and you are still that.”

It was also reported that his children, Indiana and Anthony, provided a statement that said: “Hey dad, how will shall we miss you. It was almost the time that you would make pancakes. We were so looking forward to it. Unfortunately we will never hear your voice again.”

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The funeral of Mr Zoete also took place at the end of last week and was said to be attended by hundreds of people.

The Sonja is believed to have sunk on the afternoon of August 25.

In dramatic scenes three other crew members were rescued from a life raft by the cruise ship the Pacific Princess. Their discovery sparked a major search operation for the two missing men.

The search involved lifeboat crews from Great Yarmouth and Gorleston, Caister and Lowestoft lifeboat stations with Coastguard helicopters and other vessels in the area being called in.

Police say it is believed there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the sinking of the Sonja, which had the port code Z 19, was built in 1973.