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ARGENTINA | 11-07-2018 18:11

One dead, one missing as Spanish fishing boat sinks off coast

The crew of the Dorneda were found at dawn in two rafts and a small boat, 308 nautical miles off the Patagonian coast, the Navy said in a statement.

One person has died and another is missing after a Spanish fishing vessel sank off the coast of Argentina, but 25 crew members have been rescued, the Navy said today.

The crew of the Dorneda were found at dawn in two rafts and a small boat, 308 nautical miles off the Patagonian coast, the Navy said in a statement. The location of the discovery was around 570 kilometres from the town of Comodoro Rivadavia in the southern province of Chubut.

Most of the crew are Spanish but there are also Moroccans, Peruvians and Indonesians amongst them, spokesman Enrique Balbi said.

The 25 survivors and dead sailor are now aboard an Argentine fishing boat heading back to dry land and expected to arrive in Patagonia in around two days, Balbi told AFP.

To reach there, the Argentine boat must negotiate 570 kilometresof open water through a South Atlantic storm in the middle of winter, said Balbi.

The Dorneda is believed to have capsised after being inundated by "a lot of water down the stern ramp where the fish nets are pulled up," according to Balbi.

"The water entered the engine room and caused a power cut," he said. "That made the boat uncontrollable in a storm."

"Realising a shipwreck was inevitable, the crew abandoned ship," he added.

Balbi added: "At this time of year, adverse conditions created by low pressure generate a lot of wind and big waves. This can happen to any boat when there are big waves."

Spain picked up a distress beacon and alerted the Argentine Navy, which sent out two fishing vessels to locate the sailors.

Balbi said the boat, owned by Spanish seafood company Freiremar, was fishing in international waters but that "it's still our search and rescue area."

Two aircraft have been sent to Patagonia to help in the search and rescue operation for the missing sailor.

- TIMES/AFP/AP

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