At least six dead after tourist boat sinks in Colombian reservoir

9 dead, 28 missing after tourist boat sinks in Colombia

At least six dead after tourist boat sinks in Colombian reservoir

A rescue operation is underway in Colombia after a tourist boat with about 150 people on board sank in a reservoir near Medellin.

Nine people were dead and 28 missing after a tourist ferry packed with around 170 passengers for the holiday weekend capsized Sunday on a reservoir near the Colombian city of Medellin, officials said.

They say that 133 people were rescued, but 16 are still missing after the four-deck Almirante went down near the popular resort town of Guatapé.

Footage shows the boat violently rocking from side to side on the Penol reservoir in Guatape near the Colombian city of Medellin.

An even deadlier incident was avoided, as recreational boats and jet skis rushed to the scene to pull people from the party boat as it went down.

It is not yet clear where the tourists were from or what caused the accident.

Boat sunk in Penol reservoir, #Columbia.

There are "six people deceased so far and 31 reported missing", Santos told reporters in Guatape, after the regional government earlier gave a death toll of at least nine.

Video circulating on social media shows the ship going down and dozens of other vessels approaching it to try to rescue people.

Some people who witnessed the tragedy from the nearby shore said the boat appeared to be overloaded but President Juan Manuel Santos said it was sailing below capacity. Army helicopters and divers later joined the search-and-rescue operation.

Margarita Moncada, the head of the disaster response agency in Antioquia state, said that almost 99 people have been rescued, while others managed to reach the shore on their own.

Survivors told local television they heard a loud noise before the boat began to sink.

One woman who survived, Laura Baquero, said that the two lower decks were "too crowded" and the passengers were not wearing lifejackets.

According to local media reports, Medellin's mayor Federico Gutierrez has said he is sending a team led by a firefighting crew captain and five scuba divers.

It is a long holiday weekend in the Andean country and the reservoir is a well-known destination for families.

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