A boat carrying around 160 people in one of Colombia’s popular tourist destinations sank on Sunday, killing several on board, officials said.
The four-story tourist vessel, called the Almirante, sank in the Guatapé-El Peñol reservoir near Medellin in mere minutes. It appeared to break into two pieces as travelers scrambled to flee.
At least six people died in the incident and 31 are missing, The Associated Press reported.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos tweeted that a rescue operation was underway and the BBC reported that local boats quickly arrived to rescue passengers from the vessel.
However, Santos told reporters the vessel “had a capacity greater than the number of people on board so that it was not due to overloading.”
Officials have yet to say what caused the boat to sink. All of those killed were Colombian nationals, an official with the National Risk Management Unit told Agence France-Presse.
Two people who live near the reservoir said the boat had sunk once before while it was moored at a dock, The Guardian reported. But the vessel was fixed and “kept working normally,” the residents told local media outlet Blu Radio.