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Colombia: Boat carrying 150 tourists sinks in reservoir

Colombia: Boat carrying 150 tourists sinks in reservoir”

The boat was carrying about 150 people when it sank in a reservoir.

The boat sank on Sunday near the popular tourist town of Guatape, roughly 45 km east of Medellin, one of Colombia's biggest cities.

"So far we have three people deceased" and "approximately 30 missing", police commander Jorge Hernando Nieto said on Sunday. Overnight they reduced to 15 the number of people missing, down from an earlier count of twice that amount. The ship was the only vessel involved in the accident, government officials said Sunday.

Those who managed to escape, local media reported that the ship called El Almirante was overloaded and none of those on Board had life jackets.

Videos circulating on social media showed the turquoise and yellow trimmed boat rocking back and forth as people crawled down from a fourth-floor roof as it began sinking into the water.

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos went to the area where the boat went down and said at least six people were dead and another 31 were missing.

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"Nobody really knows what happened", said Santos, adding that naval officials were brought in to carry out an investigation.

"It sank extremely quickly".

She said there were "lots of children" on board. The rescue operation includes the Interior Ministry, air force, army and police. The flotilla avoided a deadlier tragedy after the El Almirante ferry sank. The boat did not sink completely and was fixed, according to the residents.

Shortly after that, the boat began sinking. "The owners fixed it and it continued to operate", said Marylin Usme.

The mayor of Medellin has said that firefighters and scuba divers from the city are now travelling to the Penol reservoir. Moncada said that all of the rescued passengers were in good condition.

Guatape fills with tourists on long weekends like this one, since Monday is a holiday in Colombia.

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