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13 tourists killed in boat incident off Nicaragua

24 January 2016 10:46


Thirteen Costa Rican tourists have died in a boat accident off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua due to bad weather, officials say.

The incident occurred on Saturday when the boat carrying 32 tourists turned over as it was travelling between the Corn Islands, which constitute a popular tourist destination.

According to Mario Berrios, the Nicaraguan navy’s commander for the southern Caribbean region, of the 32 passengers aboard the Reina del Caribe, 25 were Costa Ricans, four were Americans and three were Nicaraguans.

However, a spokeswoman for Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry said the survivors included 13 Costa Ricans, two Americans, two Britons, a Brazilian and one from Nicaragua, along with the captain and his crewmate.

Berrios added that most of the dead were women.

Government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo, meanwhile, described the incident “a great tragedy,” adding, “They were tourists vacationing in Little Corn Island.”

The vessel capsized amid rain and strong winds and its captain and owner were said to have been detained because the boat should not have been sailing, as the weather in the region has been bad for several days.

Authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.

“There was a warning that the weather conditions would be bad, but it appears that was ignored and this tragedy happened,” Berrios said.

Made up of Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island, the Corn Islands are located about 70 kilometers (45 miles) off Nicaragua’s mainland.

Nicaraguan authorities are seeking to repatriate the bodies on Sunday.

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