Saturday 18 November 2017

Six dead and 15 missing after tourist boat capsizes

A tourist ferry sinks in the Guatape reservoir in Colombia June 25, 2017 in this still image taken from video obtained from social media. Photo: Reuters
A tourist ferry sinks in the Guatape reservoir in Colombia June 25, 2017 in this still image taken from video obtained from social media. Photo: Reuters

Luis Benavides in Guatape, Colombia

Scuba divers were searching for bodies yesterday in a reservoir near the Colombian city of Medellin where a tourist boat packed with more than 150 passengers for the holiday weekend capsized, leaving at least six people dead and 15 missing.

Rescuers including firefighters and air force pilots in helicopters searched for survivors at the Guatape reservoir where the El Almirante ferry sank. A flotilla of recreational boats and jet skis had rushed to the scene, pulling people from the boat as it went down and avoiding an even deadlier tragedy.

Dramatic videos circulating on social media show the party boat rocking back and forth as people crawled down from a fourth-deck roof as it sank in a matter of minutes. Survivors described hearing a loud explosion near the men's bathroom that knocked out power a few minutes after the boat began its cruise around the lake.

As water flooded on board, pressure built and people were sucked under by the sinking ship. "Those on the first and second decks sank immediately," survivor Lorena Salazar told local media. "All we could do was scream and call for help ... it was completely chaotic."

Irish Independent

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