Guatape Tour Boat Sinks; 9 Confirmed Dead
Antioquia’s disaster-recovery agency — Departamento Administrativo para la Prevención, Atención y Recuperación de Desastres (DAPARD) – announced June 29 that the bodies of the last two persons missing from a boating disaster at Guatape lake have now been recovered by divers.
A total of nine passengers died in the June 25 sinking of the “El Almirante” tour boat. The bodies of Aura Estella Barragán Argumedo and Erika Quinchía were recovered by divers on June 28, according to DAPARD, while the bodies of seven others previously recovered were Martha Nora Gómez, María Hilda Idárraga, Edilma Barragán, Valentina Jaramillo, Lupe del Socorro Cantor Rodríguez, John Jairo Palacio Restrepo and Daniel Mora Ortiz, according to DAPARD.
“El Almirante” went down in Guatape lake with more than 150 passengers aboard, around 2:30 p.m. June 25. Most were rescued by nearby boats that witnessed the sinking. None of the passengers were wearing life-jackets.
A dramatic film of the sinking is available at this web site: http://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/barco-que-se-hundio-en-guatape-ya-se-habia-accidentado/530006 .
“El Almirante” had suffered two other recent sinkings, but had avoided losses of life in those earlier incidents, according to numerous local press reports.
According to one report from Medellin-based daily newspaper El Colombiano, 13 other tour boats with three or four stacked decks — similar to “El Almirante” — are operated by Asobarcos at Guatape. Colombian law requires such tour boats to carry life-jackets and give them to passengers, the report pointed out. All the Asobarcos boats have now been suspended from operations pending further investigations by authorities.
Guatape — just two-hours’ drive from Medellin — is a popular weekend destination for boat trips, for browsing the food-and-trinkets kiosks along the Malecon (waterfront), and for strolling through the picturesque town with its characteristic “zocalo” sculptures that adorn most of the houses.