Spanish fishermen feared lost after trawler sinks

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The Independent Online

Up to 12 crew members of a Spanish-owned trawler were missing, feared drowned, after their vessel sank off the west coast of Ireland yesterdaymorning. A sole survivor was recovering in a Galway hospital last night.

Up to 12 crew members of a Spanish-owned trawler were missing, feared drowned, after their vessel sank off the west coast of Ireland yesterdaymorning. A sole survivor was recovering in a Galway hospital last night.

The incident is the second such tragedy in three days in Irish waters.

The Arosa, which was registered in Britain, had a crew of 10 Spanish and three west African fishermen. The survivor, who was winched to safety, has been named as Ricardo Garcia, a 24-year-old Spaniard.

Five bodies were pulled from the sea and the search for the remaining seven men resumed at first light this morning.

Yesterday's rescue operation was aided by local fishing boats and a French military aircraft, although a spokesperson for the marine rescue service admitted that severe gales had limited its effectiveness.

The stricken vessel put in a mayday signal at 5am yesterday, after it hit a number of rocky islets 18 kilometres off the coast of Co Mayo. The area, known locally as the Skerds, is regarded as a navigationalhazard.

The trawler is now thought to be partly submerged. The coastguard may authorise a search of the hull this morning to determine whether it holds any bodies, although its location could hinder such an operation.

"This particular area is full of rocks, which means it's not really safe for any vessel," said Denis Maher, spokesperson for the marine rescue service.

Rescue services in the area have been at full stretch since Sunday morning when a French trawler, An-Orient, sank off the coast of Co Clare, with the loss of eight lives.

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