"Be careful what you say when you come ashore." These were the words that the nephew of the skipper of the Villa de Pitanxo and one of the three survivors of the tragedy, Eduardo Rial, would have said to another of his companions who managed to get out of the shipwreck alive, Samuel Kwesi.
This follows from the statement made before the Judicial Police unit of the Civil Guard by one of the sailors from the 'Playa Menduiña 2', the ship that rescued the three survivors and several bodies from the Pitanxo, which sank on the 15th of February 450 kilometers off the coast of Newfoundland (Canada).
From his words, along with those of many other companions, it follows that Samuel would have been the crew member found alive on the Pitanxo who would show a "more affected" attitude, since "he cried continuously."
Meanwhile, the ship's skipper, Juan Padín, and his nephew, Eduardo Rial, were calmer. "Eduardo used to sing along the corridors, drinking beer," explains another of the sailors from 'Playa Menduiña 2'.
In their statements, to which Europa Press has had access, several of the crew say that on one occasion, in the ship's dining room, Eduardo even told Samuel to "be careful what he spoke" since "it was not a joke". "Be careful what you say, this is a very serious thing," another of the sailors claims to have heard in a conversation in which the reasons for the tragedy were discussed.
In his testimonies, one of the crew members, who knew Eduardo Rial from having previously worked with him, stated that the skipper's nephew assured him upon his arrival at 'Playa Menduiña 2' that his uncle was lying, that he had not whistled to abandon ship , but that he would say what Padín told him.
In addition, at first, upon his arrival at 'Playa Menduiña 2', Padín assured his skipper and other sailors that the reason for the shipwreck was that the boat got muddy (the gear used to fish was hooked on the bottom of the sea ), so the turning maneuver began little by little, which caused water to enter and finally the engines to stop.
This version would support Samuel's account of the events. The latter adds that the sailors asked the captain to release the cable, but he "ignored" it and the ship ended up sinking.
However, Padín changed his version already inside the 'Playa Menduiña 2' and maintains it today, emphasizing that the engine stopped before the water entered the ship. In addition, he now says that the mudslide occurred long before the shipwreck and that it was not the cause of it.
Among their statements, several of the sailors indicated that the three survivors met at least once in the cabin shared by Eduardo Rial and Juan Padín, since Samuel did not sleep with them.
In this meeting, according to one of the fishermen who was in a wall-to-wall room of theirs, it was possible to hear how Padín spoke and almost did not let the rest say a word. As he recounts, his feeling is that the boss was guiding Samuel and Eduardo on the way in which they had to report the events.
Among other statements, the story that Samuel told several of the sailors about how he managed to access one of the life rafts, where the three survivors were found, stands out.
Thus, Kwesi would have told them that he had to throw himself into it and that the first reaction of Juan Padín and his nephew was to push him out. «He managed to jump on one of the life rafts in which, among others, Juan Padín and Eduardo were. At that very moment Juan and Eduardo verbally told him to get out of the raft », indicates another of the sailors.
However, Samuel did not pay attention, since he would be left lying in the middle of the sea, so he stayed inside it and adopted the measures that he believed were most convenient for the situation, since he was not wearing the survival suit.
Once there, as the hours passed, several of his companions lost their lives due to hypothermia, so he tied their bodies so that they would not fall into the sea, since the raft had a hole. However, some of them were lost.
In addition, the sailors also assure that both Samuel and Rial stressed that there was no signal for the abandonment of the ship.