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February 22, 2019

One dead, one missing as Spanish fishing boat sinks near Argentina

One dead, one missing as Spanish fishing boat sinks near Argentina
'Argentine Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi, shown here at a press conference in January 2018, said the crew of the Spanish fishing vessel also included Moroccans, Peruvians and Indonesians' - By: AFP/File Emiliano Lasalvia

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

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

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 aboard two boats heading back to dry land, Balbi told AFP.

One is headed to Puerto Madryn, Argentina, and the other to Montevideo, he said.

The Dorneda is believed to have capsized 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."

"Realizing a shipwreck was inevitable, the crew abandoned ship."

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.

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