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  HOME | Colombia (Click here for more)

Colombian Authorities Confirm 7 Dead, 13 Missing in Tour Boat Sinking

GUATAPE, Colombia – Emergency crews recovered the body of a woman on Monday, raising the confirmed death toll to seven in the weekend sinking of a tour boat with some 170 people on board on the Guatape reservoir in northwestern Colombia.

Thirteen other people are still missing, according to the latest official tally.

“The search and rescue groups today removed (the body of) an adult woman named Martha Nora Gomez, who was on the list of the missing,” the director of the UNGRD disaster risk management unit, Carlos Ivan Marquez, told reporters.

He said that two other people, identified as Andres Salazar and Carlos Alberto Cordoba, who were being sought by authorities in the shipwreck’s aftermath, were found to be alive.

“This causes the figures to vary, the number of dead is seven and the number of missing persons is 13,” said Marquez.

He added that 34 divers are continuing with the recovery efforts and it is expected that soon they will show further results in locating and recovering more victims from the wreck of the El Almirante.

Marquez added that a public emergency protocol remains in effect in the town of Guatape, in Antioquia province, so that authorities may operate quickly and efficiently.

According to the UNGRD chief, the Transportation Ministry has launched efforts to review and gather information to help shed light on the cause of the accident and whether anyone bears responsibility for it.

He also confirmed that the tour boat was capable of carrying 200 passengers and ruled out overcrowding as one of the causes of the shipwreck, which occurred about 2 pm on Sunday.

The Guatape reservoir about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Medellin and is a popular tourist destination offering assorted leisure activities, and on Sunday the area registered a big inflow of tourists because Monday is a holiday in Colombia.

One of the most popular local activities for tourists is to take a boat tour of the emerald green waters of the reservoir.

 

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