Colombia’s navy is searching for an unknown number of people who are missing after two boats capsized off the port city of Tumaco.
At least 14 people – seven of them children – were killed when the boats sunk in the Pacific on Saturday, the boats were transporting locals from Tumaco to San José del Guayabo. The cause of the accident is not yet known but officials said none of the bodies they had retrieved had been wearing life jackets.
There is no record of how many people were on board but survivors say as many as 16 people could still be missing. Thirty-five people, including five children, were rescued from the water, which survivors described as unusually turbulent at the time of the accident. The navy said that they thought the boats could have been carrying more people than they were built for. One theory investigators put forward is that one of the boats began to sink due to excessive weight and that the second boat went down after it started taking on passengers from the first boat.
Navy officials described the boats as simple vessels, which were not registered with the port authorities. As this coastal area is crisscrossed by rivers, much of the transport of goods and people is done by boat.