PUERTO LEMPIRA, Honduras (AFP) – Families of the 27 people who died after a Honduran fishing boat sank have started receiving the bodies of their relatives, as the country’s president ordered a probe into the incident.
The vessel sank on Wednesday in the remote eastern Mosquitia region after heading out to sea when a seasonal ban on lobster fishing was lifted.
“We feel deep regret” over the drownings, President Juan Orlando Hernande wrote on his official Twitter account on Thursday.
“We stand in solidarity with the families,” adding he had demanded an investigation.
Autopsies were being carried out in an improvised morgue on a sandbar off the country’s east coast. A dozen bodies have so far been handed over to relatives, according to an AFP photographer.
One survivor, 30-year-old Anderson Flores, said his cousin’s remains had been identified but had not yet been buried.
He told AFP that before the fishing vessel went under “we were sleeping in the cabins when we felt the boat turning around, then it started sinking quickly.”
Flores added he and eight others managed to detach a boat from the main ship, then waited for five hours before being rescued.
The Directorate of Forensic Medicine said a team of nine experts had been sent to the area to help recover and identify the victims.