The scene at the dockside yesterday.

A Senegalese sailor died yesterday and nine other crew members were treated in hospitals across Majorca after their fishing trawler caught fire two kilometres off the coast off Capdepera. Fire broke out on the Antonio Cid IIjust after mid-day and 20-year-old Abraham B. drowned after jumping ship along with the rest of the crew. According to the Majorcan emergency and ambulance services the alarm was raised at 12.15 when the trawler was off the north east coast of Majorca. The sea rescue service and Guardia Civil deployed high speed launches to the scene, but it was the crew of a “llaut” and a zodiac which saved the nine Spanish crew members and plucked the body of the Senegalese from the sea before transferring them all to dry land. The exact cause of the fire had yet to be confirmed, but crewmen José Hernández, Juan Torres and Julián Caparrós said after they were eventually discharged from hospital, that they had been asleep when the fire broke out in the engine room. The three fishermen said that they had little time to respond because the flames engulfed the entire vessel within minutes. Conditions on board the trawler were made even worse by the thick smoke caused by the fibre lining to the hull which prevented the crew from getting to the lifeboats. 16-year-old José Manuel Hernández, the youngest of the crew, told of how, after a number of minutes in the water, he managed to grab hold of a bouy still attached by rope to the trawler which helped him remain afloat. Each of the three men contacted their families as soon as they reached hospital to inform them that they were all safe and sound. The other six crew members were all treated for the effects of smoke and later discharged. The trawler, registered in Barbate and based in Almeria, smouldered out at sea for over two hours and the Ibanat forest fire fighter planes flew a number of sorties over the burning vessel to try and extinguish the flames but eventually a fire fighting vessel had to be put to sea to finally put out the blaze.


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