Nine killed as Colombia boat sinks

June 26, 2017

At least nine people died when a passenger boat sank on a reservoir in north-western Colombia, police say.

About 28 people are missing after the four-deck Almirante vessel went down near the tourist town of Guatapé, 45km (28 miles) east of Medellín on Sunday.

There were about 150 people aboard. The boat sank in less than five minutes, eyewitness Juan Quiroz told the BBC.

Leisure boats quickly came to the rescue, hauling victims from the water and the top deck of the vessel.

Army helicopters and divers have been sent to the scene.

Survivors from the sunken boatAFP/GETTY IMAGES
Those rescued were traumatised by the ordeal
Rescue officials gather to take part in a search for survivorsAFP/GETTY IMAGES
The search and rescue operation is continuing

“The situation looks serious,” a local government official told AFP news agency.

More than 20 people were taken to a hospital in Guatapé.

Luis Bernardo Morales, a fire service captain involved in the rescue operation, said the boat was very close to the port when it sank.

“We do not know whether it was a mechanical failure, an overloading or something to do with the currents that caused it to sink,” AFP quoted him as saying.

Guatapé is a popular Andean resort town, known for its water sports and recreational activities.