Zurich police investigated after leaving woman marooned on island

Zurich police investigated after leaving woman marooned on island

A new report from the Ombudsman's Office of Canton Zurich has revealed that a complaint was launched against the local maritime police after a woman was left marooned on an island by the emergency services. The police have now admitted that their actions were inappropriate.

Woman left marooned on Lake Zurich island

According to the report, the story starts in January 2023 when a man and a woman were cruising on Lake Zurich on their brand-new boat. In order to take pictures of the new vessel, the man docked on the island of Ufenau or Lützelau - the anonymised report doesn’t say - to let the woman off.

However, as the man was showing off the boat out on the lake, a police craft docked on the island and asked the woman for her ID. After explaining that her wallet was still on the boat, the police went out towards the man. Unluckily for her, police had an arrest warrant for the man behind the wheel, who had not paid fines worth 500 francs. He was then arrested and his boat was confiscated.

The arrested man then explained to the officer that with the boat now out of action, the woman had no way to get off the island without their help. The officer told the man to use his phone to organise and pay for a boat to pick her up, which he refused to do.

The police then called the woman to explain the situation, and after she asked for help, the officer was reported to say that it wasn’t their problem and that they were "too busy" to organise a rescue.

Abandoning woman over a 500-franc fine is unusual, admits Ombudsman

Then, both the confiscated boat and the police sailed into the blue yonder, leaving the woman marooned on the island. Instead of a loaded pistol and a bottle of rum, the lady was left without a wallet and with just a low-battery phone to call for assistance.

However, luckily, help came sailing past sometime later, with another boat eventually helping the woman back to shore.

Writing in a statement, the Ombudsman for Canton Zurich said that it was “at least unusual” that a woman was left stranded on an island in the middle of winter because of a 500-franc fine. For their part, the maritime police admitted that the officer’s actions were not appropriate and that an internal review was now underway.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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