Spain in shock, worst fishing tragedy in 40 years

Eight ships, including Spanish and Portuguese fishing boats, joined the search effort.


Yesterday, Spain held a ceremony in honor of the victims of the worst fishing tragedy in 40 years, while Canadian rescue teams warned of dwindling chances of finding survivors among the 11 missing people, after a fishing boat sank off the eastern coast of Canada.

Search teams have so far confirmed the death of 10 people, and rescued three people on a lifeboat, while efforts to search for the missing are continuing.

"Once again the people of the sea received a severe blow," said the chief official of the Galicia region, home of the fishing vessel Alberto Nunez Viejo, declaring three days of mourning in honor of the victims.

He added: "Galicia is a large family, and when any family experiences a tragic event, it unites in grief to seek solace."

In Madrid, deputies observed a minute of silence in Parliament for the missing victims, after the fishing boat sank 250 nautical miles (463 km) east of Newfoundland, in a disaster in which only three people survived.

The crew consisted of 24 people, 16 Spaniards, five Peruvians and three Ghanaians.

The Spanish Minister of Agriculture and Fishing, Luis Planas, described the incident as "the biggest tragedy in the fishing sector in the past 38 years," referring to the sardine fishing boat "Islamar-3" that sank off the Canary Islands in 1984, killing 26 people.

"This profession is not only very difficult, but also very dangerous," he said.

Planas said that eight ships, including Spanish and Portuguese fishing boats, joined efforts to search for survivors of the sinking of the 50-meter Via de Betanxo, after it issued a distress call.

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