16 June 2004
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – The hunt to find the bodies of four missing fishermen who drowned when their boat sank was set to end Wednesday, officials said.
The Ministry of Development, which is leading the search, said unless any of the bodies of the missing fishermen could be found, the search would be called off.
The search was being conducted in the wreck of the boat as well as along the coast near where the fishing boat ‘Bahia’ sank off the coast of Galicia in north west Spain.
The underwater search, involving a team of divers and remote-control robots, was concentrating on the cabin area of the submerged boat, where it was hoped the bodies could be found.
A British specialist search team called ‘Bar Protector’ was heading the underwater search.
But Obdulia Taboadela, of the Galician regional government, said it was “improbable” that the bodies would be found.
The British divers were also searching in the storehouse, the only part of the boat which had not been searched.
Meanwhile, relatives of the missing fishermen were waiting for some sign of hope that the dead fishermen could be given a proper burial.
A spokesman for the families said the experience had “destroyed” them.
The Galician boat went down in rough seas near the Sisargas Islands on 2 June.
Initially rescuers spent the night searching the area and have found bits of the boat, including life-jackets, EFE news agency reported.
The bodies of eight fishermen have been found.
The stretch of the Galician coast where the boat went down is known as the Coast of Death because of the number of shipwrecks.
The Prestige oil disaster, when millions of gallons of oil leaked from a wrecked tanker, happened further along the same stretch of dangerous coastline in November 2002.
The Bahia sent an emergency message before losing contact a few miles from the islands at about 8.15pm.
At the time there were strong winds and heavy seas.
The Bahia was returning from the Basque region, where it had been fishing for anchovy, to the port of Cesantes, in Redondela. The crew were all from the area.
In the past ten years, 227 Galician fishermen have died at sea.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news