St. John’s, Canada, Feb 18 (EFE).- A Canadian boat transporting the bodies of two of the victims of the sinking of Spanish fishing trawler Villa de Pitanxo arrived Friday morning in this northeastern port city.
That vessel – the Nexus – is one of two boats that set sail for St. John’s, capital of Newfoundland and Labrador province, on Thursday.
Spanish fishing trawler Playa de Menduiña II, which is carrying the three survivors of the tragedy – captain Juan Enrique Padin Costas, his nephew Eduardo Rial Padin and Ghanaian seaman Samuel Kwesi Koufie – and seven other bodies, is expected to reach its destination on Saturday morning.
Its delayed arrival is due to hurricane-strength wind gusts of up to 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour and torrential rains in the vicinity of Newfoundland island.
After the Nexus was moored at one of the port’s berths, the two bodies were offloaded; their identities will now be verified ahead of their eventual repatriation.
The 50-meter (164-foot) Villa de Pitanxo, which was based in Marin, a port in the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia, went down early Tuesday on the Grand Banks, a rich fishing grounds located some 250 nautical miles (460 km) east of the Newfoundland coast.
Three members of the 24-person crew, which was made up of 16 Spaniards, five Peruvians and three Ghanaians, were rescued by another nearby fishing boat.
Spain’s consul-general in Montreal, Luis Calvo, is now in St. John’s to attend to the three survivors and assist with the identification and repatriation of the deceased Spanish citizens.
Canadian authorities announced Wednesday – 36 hours after the boat had sunk – that the search for the 12 missing crew members had been called off.
Mark Ouellette, a Canadian coast guard officer attached to the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia, told Efe that day that while deciding to end a search is the “toughest” aspect of the job, authorities have to weigh the risks to rescuers against the odds of survival for the missing people. EFE