TEGUCIGALPA – At least 27 people drowned on Wednesday when the Honduran boat they were on sank in the Caribbean, a Honduran official said.
The president of the Association of Atlantic Coast Industrial Fishermen, Richard Bonilla, said that the death toll as of 3:15 pm stood at 27, which was the latest figure authorities had received from the scene of the accident off the coast of Gracias a Dios province, which borders on Nicaragua.
Bonilla said that when news of the shipwreck became known, help was requested from other boats fishing up to 10 miles away.
He said that on board the boat that sank – apparently a fishing boat – were 56 people who set sail on Monday from Puerto Lempira, and authorities were awaiting delivery of the passenger list from the Port Captaincy.
A few hours earlier, Honduran armed forces spokesman Jose Domingo Meza had reported that several people had drowned and others were missing after a boat sank off the coast of Gracias a Dios.
The sinking, Meza said, was reported about 1 am.
Another boat, about which Meza gave no details, was also said to have sunk in the same zone.
He added that the first sinking occurred near the Vivorillo and Gorda keys and that several people on that vessel had been rescued.
According to the scanty preliminary information, the boat was carrying more people than it had capacity for, although no official figures on that matter have yet been provided.
The Honduran navy has dispatched a launch and another individual boat to carry out search and rescue efforts at the site of the mishap, the military spokesman said.
The people who were rescued were taken to Puerto Lempira by navy personnel.
Meza did not discuss the weather conditions in the area of the two sinkings.