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Principale » Colombian ferry with 150 passengers aboard sinks in reservoir

Colombian ferry with 150 passengers aboard sinks in reservoir

26 Juin 2017

At least three people died and 30 remain missing after a tour boat with some 150 passengers on board capsized Sunday afternoon in northwest Colombia, local media reported.

Margarita Moncada, the head of the disaster response agency in Antioquia state, said that almost 99 people have been rescued, while others managed to reach the shore on their own.

In a press conference on Sunday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed the number of dead and said that 122 people had been pulled from the water in the wake of the accident.

The cause of the shipwreck was unknown as of Sunday night.

Lorena Salazar, who survived the tragedy, told local media: "Those on the first and second floors sank immediately".

A major rescue operation is underway at a reservoir in Guatapé near the capital Medellin, with the air force saying on Twitter that it had dispatched a helicopter and divers to the scene.

"We started to hear screams and noise and then people started telling us about a boat that had gone down with a lot of people".

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Six passengers perished and three remain hospitalized after the boat sank in Guatape, near Medellin.

The reservoir, which was created as a result of a controversial dam built in the late 1970s, is widely recommended as a place to visit, with boat rides on the water being cited. "It all happened in a few minutes", said fire service captain Luis Bernardo Morales.

Regional government official, Victoria Eugenia Ramirez, said the El Almirante was booked to capacity when it set off.

Survivors told local media the boat appeared to be overloaded and before it went down they heard a loud crunching sound and numerous passengers were not provided with life vests.

The large reservoir, about an hour from the central city of Medellin, is a popular tourist destination.

It was a long holiday weekend in Colombia and the El Almirante ferry was filled with tourists.