IThey were 24. Ten crew members perished and 11 are still missing. After the sinking of a Spanish trawler off Canada, in the Atlantic, the hope of finding survivors dwindled on Tuesday February 15 with nightfall. “Unfortunately, three other deceased people have been recovered from the fishing boat” which sank, tweeted the Canadian rescue team at the start of the evening. Shortly after the sinking, three sailors who had managed to board a lifeboat were able to be saved.
The weather conditions, with waves of more than 4 meters and wind, made the search very complicated all day for Canadian rescuers. And the arrival of night and even lower temperatures reduced the hope of finding survivors. When the Pitanxo Villa was wrecked on Tuesday around 4:30 a.m. GMT (00:30 a.m. locally) 450 kilometers southeast of Newfoundland, 24 crew members were on board. Debris from the 50-meter-long trawler anchored in the small port of Marin in Galicia (northwestern Spain) was found, Brian Owens, Canadian spokesman for the coordination center told AFP. of rescue, which manages the searches.
An “accident” in question
According to Spanish sea rescue, the crew consisted of 16 Spaniards, 5 Peruvians and 3 Ghanaians. Among the Spanish sailors, many came from Galicia. The boat had an “accident” and “sent a distress signal”, and two ships came to its rescue, Rosa Quintana, the Galician regional government’s head of maritime affairs, told reporters. This is another Spanish boat, the Playa Menduina Doswho finally found around 9:30 a.m. GMT (5:30 a.m. local time) the bodies of four of the victims, as well as three survivors in a lifeboat, the ministry said.
These three sailors, whose nationality has not been specified, were evacuated in a state of hypothermia by a Canadian sea rescue helicopter, said Rosa Quintana. According to the sub-prefect of Pontevedra, Maica Larriba, a total of four lifeboats were spotted by the rescuers, who found several life jackets and numerous objects at the scene of the sinking. Help was able to approach “three of them: two were empty, completely empty”, she explained, adding that the three survivors were found in the third boat.
” A tragedy “
According to the Spanish Ministry of Transport, the causes of the accident are currently “not known”. The weather conditions were nevertheless bad, with “wind” and “reduced visibility”, he said. “The weather at the moment complicates our research. The waves are about four meters high and the visibility is reduced to about a quarter of a nautical mile,” Brian Owens confirmed, adding that the search would continue, “whatever the weather”. Canadian rescue deployed a helicopter, a military plane, a coast guard vessel and several boats to conduct the search off Saint John of Newfoundland, the easternmost Canadian province of the country.
“We are following with concern the search and rescue missions of the crew of the Galician ship,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez reacted on Twitter. “It’s a tragedy”, confided, in tears, the aunt of one of the sailors of the Pitanxo VillaJonathan Calderón, to the Galician daily The Voice of Galicia. The 39-year-old is the father of two children, she said. the Pitanxo Villa belongs to the fishing group Nores, which has eight refrigerated trawlers and 300 employees, according to its website. Contacted by AFP, the group could not be reached on Tuesday afternoon.