Four killed after boat sinks near Mexico vacation hotspots

Four tourists are dead after a boat capsized off the coast of Mexico’s Isla Mujeres, an island about 20 kilometres away from Cancún, a popular tourist destination.

The incident occurred well into Monday night after the small boat, named “Diosa Del Mar” or “Goddess of the Sea”, left Puerto Júarez for Cancún with 17 tourists from Mexico City on board, despite official orders warning of bad weather conditions.

Two crew members, a captain and a helper, were also on board. Officials said the captain tried to turn the boat around when it was struck by a large wave causing the vessel to sink and everyone on board to fall into the bay between Isla Mujeres and Cancún.

Authorities managed to rescue 15 of the 19 individuals on board, including the two crewmembers. Of the four people that died, three were adults while one was a 10-year-old child. At least one passenger was seriously injured and transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.

“We express our solidarity with the families of the victims and the people who were rescued,” The Isla Mujeres City Council said in a news release.

On Tuesday, Raciel López Salazar, the attorney general of Quintana Roo, the Mexican state where the incident occurred, said the captain had been taken into custody amid an ongoing investigation. He is expected to face criminal charges.

“I can tell you that he had some responsibility,” López Salazar said.

Based on local reports, the small boat could only carry six passengers and high waves had been reported on the night of the incident.

Still, the probe will examine how many people could fit on the vessel, the weather conditions at the time of the incident and whether the crew members were at fault. The stretch between the island and Cancún is popular amongst tourists and ferry companies. The journey from one spot to the other normally takes around 30 minutes.

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