Three crewmembers were saved by a lifeboat. A maritime search continues for 11 others still missing in heavy waves.
The fishing boat, Villa de Pitanxo, is 50 meters long and operates in northwest Spain's Galicia area. Maica Larriba, Spain's regional representative, said that the boat sank in darkness (around 1 AM EST).
According to Spain's maritime rescue agency, the 24-member crew consisted of 16 Spaniards and five Peruvians, as well as three workers from Ghana.
Canada's coast guard and air force dispatched a helicopter, Hercules-type aircraft, and rescue vessel from Halifax, Nova Scotia. The area is located 450 km (280 miles) away from Newfoundland.
As of Tuesday afternoon, seven people were confirmed dead. The rescue center announced Tuesday evening via Twitter that three additional bodies had been discovered by crews, bringing the death toll to 10.
A spokesperson for the rescue center, Lieutenant Commander Brian Owens stated that high winds, heavy waves, and fog had hampered the search. He said the focus of the rescue team was on the debris from the sunken vessel.
Owens stated that three Cormorant helicopters were moving in and out the search area while a provincial airline aircraft and a C-130 Hercules flew overhead performing sensor sweeps. He said that the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Cygnus still was on its way to the debris site. "A number" of Spanish fishing vessels were also helping.
According to La Voz de Galicia newspaper, the survivors were the vessel's skipper (53 years old) and his nephew (42 years old). According to the newspaper, both men called their families via phone.
A signal from the vessel’s on-board data recorder was used to track vessels. Around 6 a.m. GMT, Maica Larriba, a Galician government official, reported that the signal stopped transmitting.
Officials said that a Spanish fishing boat was first to arrive at the scene of the sinking. It found four bodies and three survivors in one of its four lifeboats. The emergency boats two and four were unaccounted for, while the fourth was reported to be missing.
The survivors were "in a state of Hypothermic Shock because the temperature water was horrible, very low," Maica Larraba, a representative from Spain's central government in Galicia, stated to public radio.
A spokeswoman for the service stated that Spain's maritime rescue centre in Madrid, Spain, received the initial alert from the beacon at Villa de Pitanxo. They coordinated the rescue with the Halifax rescue center.
Grupo Nores (boat owner) didn't respond to written or phone calls immediately. The website states that the group operates fishing vessels in waters off Argentina and Canada, Morocco, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, and the North Sea.
"We are following closely the search and rescue operation of the crew of the Galician vessel that sank in the waters off Newfoundland," Spanish Prime Minster Pedro Sanchez tweeted. "All my love to the families. "The government is in constant contact with rescue agencies."
Marin, a port town in northern Galicia where many depend on the sea for their livelihoods, was devastated by the news. Maria Ramallo, Marin Mayor, said that the sinking boat was the worst tragedy the community has ever seen.
Ramallo stated that "We can't recall anything worse than this" to Spain's state news agency EFE.