SAN JOSÉ (AFP) – A catamaran carrying 98 tourists and 10 crew members sank off Costa Rica on Thursday, leaving at least three people dead and two missing while rescuers saved dozens from the sea.
One of the dead was a 70-year-old American woman and the other an 80-year-old British man, officials said. The third victim was not immediately identified.
Rescuers plucked 101 people from the Pacific waters but authorities were still looking for two people, said the deputy minister for public security, Maria Fullmen.
Officials had previously reported four deaths but revised the toll to three.
Survivors told local media the catamaran capsized due to powerful winds and that the ship rapidly sank.
The catamaran had sailed off from Los Suenos on the Pacific coast and was heading to Tortuga (Turtle) Island when the shipwreck happened some 15 kilometres offshore.
“The wind tipped the boat and water began to come in. People moved to the other side to balance the weight, but it didn’t work and the boat sank in minutes,” said US tourist Arcelio Garcia.
Stella Hopkins, an Argentine and the wife of the British victim, said she had thought that the boat would turn around because the sea was choppy, but the crew decided to continue the cruise.
“They didn’t give us life jackets until the boat was about to sink,” she said.