The ship that carried to the waters of the North Atlantic the judicial expedition that managed to locate the fishing vessel Villa de Pitanxo at 750 meters deep, is already back in Vigo where it expects to call on June 12. The experts commissioned by the National Court, the Maritime Accident Commission (CIAIM) and the Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), considered that the evidence obtained with the underwater robot is sufficient to help determine the causes of the accident in which 21 crew members lost their lives and only 3 of them managed to survive.
The mission, which has had the relatives of the victims in suspense, has not found any trace of the 12 missing castaways, among other reasons, because the robot could not enter the cabins of the ship. The mission has concluded and for the families a chapter is closed after intense months of demands for this expedition to be carried out. "With these parameters, temperatures and almost a year and a half after the accident, we knew that any human rescue was almost impossible, and the families have assumed it," María José De Pazo, daughter of the Villa de Pitánxo machinist, one of the disappeared, and who acts as spokesperson for the families, responds to El País.
De Pazo explains that there have been cases, such as a sailor from Marín (Pontevedra) who appeared after four years of being shipwrecked. "But the circumstances of Villa de Pitanxo are very difficult and the reality is devastating, because, as psychologists say, when a loved one does not appear, it is an open wound until you die and you have to learn to live with it," he says. "The most important thing is that we are all united and there are no differences between the relatives of the sailors who were rescued and those who have not appeared, because there is enormous solidarity between us so we try not to talk about what could not be achieved; In fact, the names of the 21 shipwrecks appear on the commemorative plaques," he says.
"Now we have to move on. We are faced with what we hope this expedition has achieved, which is the search for truth, knowing what happened and why, "says De Pazo. "We believe in justice and in a context of humanity, this tragedy is the legacy that the victims leave us for the entire sea sector and society, because the families want to prevent another such thing from happening again," he stressed.
Although for the moment the conclusions of the experts, one of them representing the relatives, have not transcended, the objectives of the mission have been fulfilled, according to the main hypotheses that are included in the investigation of the CIAIM. A report of the accident that contradicts the version of the skipper Juan Padín, investigated for 21 crimes of reckless homicide, and that coincides with the testimony of the sailor and survivor Samuel Kwesi, witness for the prosecution in this case.
María José De Pazo recalls that "there is a long way to go, one or two years of instruction, even more, until we reach the trial, but we are satisfied to verify that everything we asked for has been fulfilled, that the ship was located almost at the same point of the shipwreck and that the expedition was possible to carry it out". has underlined.
The Ártabro sailed from the port of Vigo on May 17 and the news of the find was confirmed on Saturday. The robot has been able to make all the planned recordings, since the good weather in the area allowed to obtain clear images of the point where the Villa de Pitanxo lies and the entire perimeter, navigation equipment and fishing gear such as nets, which apparently made the boat heel at the time of hoisting and that presumably caused the engine to stop.
The families did not expect such a short operation, given the importance of these recordings for the investigation. In fact, there was no lack of reproaches for the lack of information after the discovery of the wreck of which they learned two days later. "It is a judicial test, but for us it is like having found the grave of their loved ones and we expected a gesture of sensitivity," the spokeswoman concluded.
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