October 21, 2018
Medellin News

Witnesses describe panic and fear when their boat capsized in Guatape

Today, 9 people are dead and at least 30 missing after a tourist boat carrying 170 people sank in a reservoir in the tourist town of Guatape, Colombia. Helicopters from Colombia’s armed forces were sent to the area to evacuate the injured and help search for the missing.

Guatape is located 80km east of Medellín, Colombia’s second largest city. The reservoir in which the boat sank is one of Antioquia’s most important tourist destinations, drawing visitors to both spend time on the lake and visit the “Stone of El Peñol”, a large, monolithic formation.

There is still no indication of why the boat, a multi-story ferry, suddenly sank. Video seen on social media showed passengers of the boat rushing to the upper decks to avoid sinking into the water, while other nearby vessels helped rescue survivors. One of those survivors relayed what he saw to El Tiempo.

We don’t know what happened, but about 5 minutes after leaving everything was normal, then we heard a sound. We lost the lights and saw that a part of the boat had broken off and was sinking. The rest of us went to the other side of the boat in order to create a counterweight. There was a lot of screaming, and the water started to fill our section of the boat rapidly. The people above us were not letting us go up. I grabbed two children and I got ready to swim.“, he said.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos thanked his armed forces and rescue teams on Twitter for their handling of the emergency.

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