At least nine people have died and several more have been reported missing after two boats capsized on Saturday afternoon off the Pacific coast of Colombia, Mayor Emilsen Angulo of the municipality of Tumaco in the Narino department confirmed on Sunday.
“At this time, we have formally identified nine people who lost their lives in this unfortunate tragedy,” Angulo said, adding that several of the fatalities were minors.
The Rear Admiral of the National Navy, Jose Espitia, said that 35 people were rescued and that a coordinated investigation between the police, the armed forces, and other authorities is underway to discover the cause of the accident.
“We are continuing to work, with the first priority being minimizing the pain that this tragedy has caused for families due to the loss (of life) and the uncertainty of the situation in which they find themselves,” he said.
The rear admiral said that authorities are continuing to search for the missing persons, who were part of a group being transported by two boats that departed Saturday afternoon from a pier in the Las Palmas neighborhood.
According to witnesses, the boats were ferrying about 50 people to San Jose del Guayabo for a birthday party, but the vessels capsized due to bad weather and high waves.