“One Of The Saddest Days” As Spanish Fishing Trawler Sinks Off Newfoundland

At least seven fishermen are believed to have died and another 14 are missing after a Spanish trawler sank in rough seas off the coast of Canada, yesterday,February 15th, Spanish and Canadian officials said.

Canadian rescuers managed to save three crew members from the stricken ship, after it had sunk some 250 nautical miles east of Newfoundland, the country´s Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) said.

Spain’s transport ministry has confirmed that there were 24 crew members on board the vessel, which has been named as the 50-metre, Villa de Pitanxo, a deep sea trawler, which is based in Galicia.

According to the ministry, the ship sent out two distress calls which were received at 5:24 am (0424 GMT) in Madrid.

Maica Larriba, a ministry spokesperson, told public radio that the Canadian coastguard had sighted four of the vessel’s life rafts. They had been able to get to three and were still trying to reach the fourth.

“We have been informed that … bodies have been found,” she added.

“Two were completely empty and in one of them were just three survivors in a state of hypothermic shock because the temperature of the water is terrible, very low,” she said.

Javier Touza, head of the Shipowner’s Cooperative in the Galician city of Vigo, told public radio that: “We certainly could be talking about one of the saddest days for Galician fishing in its entire history.”

“We are following with concern the search and rescue operation for the crew of the Galician ship that sunk in the waters of Newfoundland,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted.

“All my love to their families. The government remains in constant contact with rescue services,” he added.

The Villa de Pitanxo is a freezer trawler, launched in 2004 that is based near Pontevedra.