Friday 22 September 2017

Three die as overloaded tourist ferry capsizes in reservoir

A ferry sinks in the Guatape reservoir near Medellin, Colombia in this still image taken from video obtained from social media. REUTERS
A ferry sinks in the Guatape reservoir near Medellin, Colombia in this still image taken from video obtained from social media. REUTERS

Miguel Hernandez

At least three people have died and 30 are missing after a tourist boat packed with 150 passengers capsized on a reservoir in Colombia.

A major rescue effort involving Colombia's air force and firefighters from nearby cities was launched to look for survivors at the Guatape reservoir near Medellin.

Dramatic videos circulating on social media show the multi-storey ferry, called El Almirante, rocking back and forth as people crawled down from a third-floor roof as the ship began sinking. A flotilla of recreational boats rushed to the scene to pull people from the vessel, avoiding an even deadlier tragedy.

Eduardo Rivera, director of a hospital in Guatape, said three people had died in the accident.

General Jorge Nieto, the head of Colombia's police, said approximately 30 people were missing.

It's unclear what caused the boat to sink but survivors told local media that it appeared to be overloaded and none of the passengers on board were wearing life vests.

The reservoir surrounding the soaring rocky outcrop of El Penol is a popular weekend destination a little more than an hour from Medellin.

It was especially busy Sunday as Colombians celebrated a long holiday weekend.

Irish Independent

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