The Canadian military says one fisherman is dead and three others were taken to hospital Thursday after their crab boat capsized off the west coast of Newfoundland.

Maj. Martel Thompson of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax said the survivors indicated their boat flipped around 9 a.m.

It appears the boat overturned near Little Port in the Little Bay Islands area when a crab trap got stuck on the bottom as the fishermen were hauling it in, he said.

Thompson said the boat lurched to one side, started taking on water and rolled over.

A Fisheries Department patrol vessel found the overturned boat around noon and pulled two survivors from the water, he said.

At that point, the rescuers were told that a third fisherman was still missing.

The military then dispatched a Cormorant search and rescue helicopter from Gander, N.L., and a Hercules military aircraft from Greenwood, N.S.

As well, the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Cape Fox was sent to the scene, where it recovered the body of one fisherman near the crab boat, Thompson said.

The Fisheries Department vessel later found a third survivor clinging to two empty gas cans about three kilometres from the fishing boat.

The survivors were taken to Little Port, where they were transferred to an ambulance and taken to hospital.

Thompson said he didn't know what condition they were in.

The coast guard vessel also towed the overturned boat to Little Port.