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Spanish fishing boat sinks off Canada; 4 dead, 15 missing

MADRID (AP) – A Spanish fishing boat sank yesterday off Newfoundland, in eastern Canada, killing at least four people, Spain’s maritime rescue service said.

Three crew members were rescued and 15 others were missing.

Search operations were ongoing to locate other members of the 22-strong crew of the sunken vessel, Spanish government spokeswoman Isabel Rodríguez said, adding that authorities were following the incident “with concern”.

A Canadian helicopter had reached the area, which is about 450 kilometres off the island of Newfoundland, and a rescue vessel was on the way to the site, a spokeswoman of the Spanish rescue service said.

The boat, called Villa de Pitanxo, operates out of northwest Spain’s Galicia region and sank around 0600 GMT in rough seas, the regional representative of the Spanish government, Maica Larriba, told Spanish public radio.

She said that the crew included 12 Spaniards, eight Peruvians and two from Ghana.

A Spanish fishing boat working not far from the site was the first to arrive in the area and found three survivors and four bodies in one of the four lifeboats of the fishing vessel, the Spanish rescue center’s spokeswoman said.

Two of the emergency boats were empty and the fourth was reportedly unaccounted for, Larriba said.

The spokeswoman, who wasn’t authorised to be named in media reports, said that the rescue centre in Madrid received the first alert from the Villa de Pitanxo and was coordinating the response with a Canadian rescue center based in Halifax.

The boat’s owner didn’t immediately reply to written questions about the incident.

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