Dozens Missing After Party-Boat Disaster

6 dead after boat sinks on a reservoir near the Colombian city of Medellin
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 26, 2017 12:39 AM CDT
Dozens Missing After Colombia Boat Disaster
Soldiers and rescue workers at the site where a ferry sank in a reservoir in Guatape, Colombia, Sunday, June 25, 2017.   (Luis Benavides)

A tourist boat packed with about 160 passengers capsized Sunday on a reservoir near the Colombian city of Medellin, leaving at least six people dead and 31 missing, officials said. Rescuers including firefighters and air force pilots in helicopters searched for survivors at the Guatape reservoir where El Almirante ferry sank. A flotilla of recreational boats and jet skis rushed to the scene, pulling people from the boat as it went down and avoiding an even deadlier tragedy, the AP reports. Dramatic videos circulating on social media show the party boat rocking back and forth as people crawled down from a fourth-floor roof as it began sinking into the water.

"Those on the first and second floors sank immediately," a female survivor told Teleantioquia. "The boat was sinking and all we could do was scream and call for help." 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. It's unclear what caused the boat to sink, but survivors said that it appeared to be overloaded and nobody on board was wearing a life vest. After arriving at the scene, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said 122 people were either rescued or found their way to shore, but six had died and another 31 were missing, he told reporters. (More Colombia stories.)

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