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Spanish fishing boat sinks off Newfoundland coast, killing 4 people

Nfld. & Labrador

Three crew members have been rescued, with a search on to find the rest of the 22-member crew, says the Spanish government.

A Spanish fishing vessel, the Villa de Pitanxo, pictured here, has sunk off the coast of Newfoundland, killing at least four people of the 22-member crew.(Vesselfinder.com)

A Spanish fishing boat sank off the coast of Newfoundland on Tuesday, 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 Rodriguez said, adding that authorities were following the incident "with concern."

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

The boat, called the Villa de Pitanxo, operates out of northwest Spain's Galicia region and sank around 1 a.m. ET in rough seas, the regional representative of the Spanish government, Maica Larriba, told Spanish public radio.

She said 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 centre's spokeswoman said.

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

The spokeswoman, who wasn't authorized to be named in media reports, said the rescue centre in Madrid received the first alert from the Villa de Pitanxo and was co-ordinating the response with a Canadian rescue centre in Halifax.

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

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