On Sunday, after the announcement of country’s president, around six people were declared dead and 31 were missing, after a tourist boat sank in a reservoir in northwestern Colombia.
But yet, the Authorities did not say about the reason that caused the four deck Almirante boat to go down in the El Penol reservoir in the tourist town of Guatape, where Colombian and foreign tourists come to spend their free time.
“So far, six people have been deceased and 31 were found missing,” Santos told reporters in Guatape, after the regional government gave a death toll of at least nine.
Carlos Ivan Marquez, an official in the National Risk Management Unit confirmed the death toll of six to AFP separately. He said they were all Colombians and no minors were their in the list.
Regional authorities said,” the boat was carrying 170 people and most of them were rescued either by other boats or they escaped by themselves.
” It all happened in just few minutes the boat sank extremely quickly,”said Luis Bernardo Morales, a fire service captain involved in the rescue team.
The military said,”One helicopter from the air force and two from the army went to help in rescue operations.”
The reservoir is 68 kilometers away from the city of Medellin and is one of Antioquia department’s main tourist draws.
Laura Baquero, a woman who survived said on television that the two lower decks were too much crowded and the passengers were not wearing lifejackets.
She said, ” Initially, we started feeling like the boat was going to capsize. There were lots of children on board.”
Santos said as he received the information that the boat had a greater capacity than the number of people present board, so that overloading was not the reason behind the sank of boat.
He said,” To investigate the cause naval experts had come and divers would continue searching for people all night.”
On Twitter, the Antioquia regional government said that 24 people caught in the destruction were being treated in hospital.
Many video posted on social media showed that the ship going down and dozens of other vessels coming close to boat tried to rescue people.
Morales, the fire captain said, ” we have seen in the videos that the boat was very close to the port and we do not know whether it was a mechanical failure, overloading or something to do with the currents that caused the boat to sink down.”
He said due to heavy traffic on the major Medellin Bogota highway the rescuers were having difficulty reaching the reservoir by road .
Since Monday is a holiday in Colombia, Guatape often fills with tourists on weekends like this one. Visitors come for one or two hour on the reservoir to fish and jet ski.
The national fire service said it was the send off firefighters from six different towns to help.
Federico Gutierrez, the Medellin’s mayor said he was sending a team that is leaded by a fire fighter crew captain and five scuba divers for rescue operation.
“That area is a little bit difficult to reach and emergency teams and various rescue teams have started joining in the operation,” On Blu Radio, he said.
A three days of mourning has been declared in Guatape town hall.