At least six dead after tourist boat sinks in Colombia

The accident happened at a popular tourist reservoir approximately an hour from the central city of Medellín

At least six dead after tourist boat sinks in Colombia

Ambulance and rescue vehicles in Guatape, Colombia, 25-06-2017. Image: DAPARD/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

A search and rescue operation is ongoing in Colombia after a tourist boat carrying 150 people sank near the city of Medellín.

At least six people have reportedly died in the incident while 31 people are believed to be missing.

The boat was packed to capacity as it sank in the country’s Penol-Guatape reservoir on Sunday during the long holiday weekend.

Videos posted on social media showed motorboats coming to the aid of passengers, with approximately 122 people rescued or managing to make it to shore.

Journalist James Bargent has been following developments in the area:

“What we do know is this boat set off with around 170 people on board; those people say they weren’t given life jackets,” he said. “About five minutes into their journey – so really just off the coast of the town itself – the boat began to sink and then it broke into two.”

Survivors await information about their missing friends and relatives following the sinking of the Almirante ferry in Colombia, 25-06-2017. Image: AP Photo/Luis Benavides

There was initial confusion over the death toll after Margarita Moncada, the head of disaster relief for Antioquia province, told journalists that nine people had died.

In a Twitter post, the country’s president Juan Manuel Santos said rescue workers and the air force have been working through the night to assist passengers at the scene.

Officials have yet to provide details of what caused the accident, with survivors claiming they heard a loud noise before the boat started to sink.

The Penol-Guatape reservoir is a popular tourist destination approximately an hour from the central city of Medellín.