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At least ten crew members perish from sunken Spanish trawler off Newfoundland

Ten out of 24 crew members have reportedly lost their lives so far after a Spanish trawler sank in the North Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland on Tuesday.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Halifax reported receiving an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon) from the FV Villa de Pitanxo just after midnight Tuesday morning approximately 280 miles (450 km) east of St. John’s.

A massive search operation is underway involving Spain’s search and rescue agency, Salvamento Maritimo, three helicopters, three fishing vessels, an offshore supply ship and a Canadian Coast Guard vessel.

Thus far, 10 deceased crew members and three survivors have been recovered. Eleven remain missing.

 Rescuers on Tuesday reported seeing debris in the water.

The 50-meter FV Villa de Pitanxo is based out of Galicia, in northwestern Spain. Its crew is made up of 16 Spaniards, five Peruvians and three Ghanaians.

Stephen Waller from JRCC Halifax told CBC News that harsh weather and waves over five metres impeded the search early Tuesday, but conditions improved throughout the day.

“The water temperature is the biggest problem,” he said. “Survivability in these water temperatures in quite short.” (Photo JRCC Halifax)