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At least 27 dead and nine missing after Honduran fishing vessel sunk

At least 27 fishermen drowned and another nine are still missing after a vessel capsized on Wednesday during bad weather off the northern coast of Honduras.

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The Honduran military rescued 55 from the ‘Capitán Waly’, which set out from Port Ceiba on July 1 to net lobster.

Hitting stormy weather, the boat went down some 80 nautical miles from the coast near the Gorda Keys, northeast of the easternmost point of the Honduran coast. 

The only person so far identified as among the dead is the vessel’s captain, Austin Elvis Haylock Almendarez.

Another fishing boat, Aguila de Acero, was near the area cruised to the scene of the accident to lead the rescue effort 

Hours before the 70-ton fishing boat went down, the Honduran Navy answered another distress signal at 1:30am local time and rescued all 49 fishermen from the Miss Francely before it capsized between the Medina Luna and Vivorillo Keys.

According to Honduran outlet La Prensa, Miss Francely was only authorized to carry 31 persons. 

José Domingo Meza, a spokesman for the military, said there was much speculation as to what caused the Capitan Waly to go down.

‘Machine malfunctions, meteorological conditions, overload. There are many factors that indicate [what caused it to capsize], but those are assumptions,’ Meza said.

‘We are going to wait for the Merchant Marine to investigate and release their report.’ 

The Caribbean commercial fishermen’s association in Honduras said nearby boats were summoned to the scene to pick up the survivors.

According to photos, the Capitán Waly apparently put to sea loaded with small skiffs for the fishermen work from.

The recovered bodies of the fishermen that perished in the horrible accident were expected to be turned over to their family members.

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