A Dutch millionaire who was convicted of murder at the age of 15 in the high-profile ‘Blood Brothers’ case has survived crashing his private plane into the sea after sailors pulled him from the wreckage.
Ewout Henny, now 77, was just 15 years old when he was convicted of murdering Theo Mastwijk, 14, in 1960, along with his brother Boudewijn Henny, 17, and friend 16 -year-old friend Hennie Werkhoven.
The incident became known as the ‘Blood Brothers’ case and hit the headlines in the Netherlands and even made its way into popular culture with a film and several songs being released based on the murder.
The facts surrounding the case remain murky, but it’s believed that the group killed Theo using a cleaver.
His body was found by accident a year later in 1961 when a bricklayer working on the large Henny estate emptied an old cesspool, revealing the boy’s decomposing body.
Ewout Henny was sentenced to six years in prison and, according to Misdaadjournalist, he served two-thirds of the sentence while the other two suspects received nine-year sentences.
Ewout Henny went on to become a millionaire running the now-bankrupt family insurance company ‘Conservatrix’.
Henny was back in the headlines having survived a plane crash in an incident he described as a “miracle” last Friday, 8th October.
The news site Pzc reported that the Dutchman, who now lives in Belgium, had set off from Antwerp in his Stampe SV-4B plane built in 1946 towards Central Zeeland airport.
Not long after taking off, about 300 metres (984 feet) above the open sea, the SV-4B’s engine failed.
Henny tried to bring the engine back to life several times with no luck so he accepted the inevitable and prepared for an emergency landing.
He told Pzc that he noticed two sailing boats and I decided to glide towards one of them.
He added that he expected the small aircraft to flip the moment the wheels touched the water, which he believed could have been fatal.
The plane smashed into the water and “within a split second I felt my head go under the water, immediately unlocked my straps and pulled myself out and was able to hold on”.
The sailboat quickly came to Henny’s aid and dragged him to safety while tying a rope around the aircraft tail to stop it from sinking.
Henny said: “A helpful crew from that ship helped me out of the water and also tied a line around the tail of the plane to prevent it from sinking. I am very much indebted to them.
“I myself was spared by a miracle, not a scratch, not even muscle pain. I realise that this could easily have ended differently and that I have crawled through the eye of a needle.”
Johan van den Dorpel, from the company that salvaged the aircraft, told Pzc: “On the instructions of the pilot, who knew what we could lift, we got the aircraft out of the water.
“It’s quite surprising that the pilot had no injuries and was just conscious. There was also almost no damage to the aircraft, only that seawater is of course not good for it.”
He added: “The plane was then seized by the Dutch aviation police for further investigation.”
No information has been revealed about what caused the plane’s engine to fail.