Four dead, 15 missing after Spanish trawler sinks off Newfoundland

Villa de Pitanxo in 2014 (Photo: H. Lorenzo)

Four people are confirmed dead while 15 others have gone missing after a foreign-flagged fishing vessel sank off Newfoundland island in eastern Canada on Tuesday, February 15.

The Spanish-registered stern trawler Villa de Pitanxo was approximately 450 kilometres off Newfoundland when it sank in rough seas shortly after 01:00 local time on Tuesday.

Multiple Good Samaritan vessels as well as local search and rescue (SAR) assets including helicopters deployed to the trawler’s last reported position to render assistance.

The first to reach the area was another Spanish fishing vessel that was also operating off Newfoundland. The crew of this vessel found three survivors and four deceased individuals in a drifting lifeboat.

The lifeboat’s seven occupants have since been identified as crewmembers of Villa de Pitanxo, which had 22 people on board when it sank.

The crew of the ill-fated vessel included 12 Spanish, eight Peruvian, and two Ghanaian nationals.

A Spanish government official said Villa de Pitanxo had three other lifeboats. Two of these were found empty while SAR teams have yet to find any trace of the fourth boat.

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