7 dead, 11 still missing day after Colombia boat sinks


Rescue teams continued to search the Guatape reservoir Monday where a tour boat sank the previous day and killed seven people. Eleven others are still missing.

"We have further agents working around the clock to speed up the search process," Director of Government's National Disaster Response Unit (UNGRD) Carlos Ivan Marquez said in a statement. "The operations will continue so long as the climatic conditions permit.

The accident occurred when a cruise boat El Almirante sank during a routine trip around the Guatape reservoir. A greater tragedy was averted as the long holiday weekend brought out many on their private boats to enjoy the water at the popular destination near the city of Medellin in north-western Colombia who were able to help those aboard the El Almirante.

Officials are working to determine what caused the boat to sink.

"We are analysing all the facts thoroughly to understand what happened," Carlos Jaime Taborda Tamayo from the local district attorney's office told the El Colombiano newspaper. "At first glance, it appears that the boat did indeed undergo the necessary technical revisions, possessed the correct insurance policies and wasn't overloaded as was suggested on social media," he said.

There are confirmed reports the El Almirante previously sustained damages and had partially sunk in recent months.

"We understand that a few months ago the El Almirante had partially sunk, said Taborda Tamayo. "But we understand that this was due to a completely different cause. It was related to a tube problem and not a structural problem."

"We are certain that there were life jackets on board the boat since while we were navigating the area where it went down, we have seen many floating around," Tamayo added.

The attorney general's office in Antioquia where Guatape is located will head up the investigation into the accident and determine whether the owners of the boat can be held responsible for the tradgey.

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