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Pope Francis offers condolences after Spanish fishing boat sinks off Canada, leaving at least 10 dead

Pope Francis leads a prayer vigil at the Vatican, Oct. 3, 2015. / Mazur/

Vatican City, Feb 18, 2022 / 06:00 am (CNA).

Pope Francis offered his “heartfelt condolences” on Friday after a Spanish fishing boat sank off the coast of Canada, leaving at least 10 people dead.

The pope sent a telegram of condolence on Feb. 18 after the Villa de Pitanxo, a boat from Spain’s northwestern Galicia region, went down on Feb. 15 in rough seas 280 miles from the Newfoundland coast.

AFP reported on Feb. 16 that 10 of the 24 crew members were confirmed dead, three rescued from a life raft, and 11 unaccounted for. The crew consisted of 16 Spaniards, five Peruvians, and three Ghanaians.

“Upon hearing the sad news of the sinking of the fishing boat Villa de Pitanxo, which occurred on Feb. 15, off the coast of Canada, and in which several people lost their lives, the Holy Father expresses his heartfelt condolences, as well as his solidarity, in these moments of sorrow,” said the telegram, which was sent on the pope’s behalf by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin to Archbishop Julián Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela.

“His Holiness Francis raises to God his prayers for the eternal repose of the victims and also expresses his closeness to the families who mourn their loved ones.”

“He also commends to the mercy of the Lord and to the maternal care of the Mother of God the people affected by this accident, while imparting the apostolic blessing, as a pledge of the constant help of the Most High and as a sign of sure hope in the resurrection.”

On the same day, the pope sent a condolence message following landslides and flooding in the Brazilian city of Petrópolis that claimed more than 100 lives.

In the telegram sent by Parolin to Bishop Gregório Paixão Neto of Petrópolis, a municipality in Brazil’s Southeast Region, the pope expressed his sorrow at the disaster and said he was praying for the victims and their families.