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Authorities continue investigation into Isla Mujeres boat accident

Isla Mujeres, Q.R. — State authorities continue with their investigation of an Isla Mujeres boat accident that left four tourists dead. State Attorney General Raciel López Salazar confirmed that four national tourists drowned after their boat took on water and sank.

He says they are continuing to look into the excess weight that the boat was carrying since it was designed for 16 people but traveled with 19. On board Diosa del Mar on the night it sank was 17 tourists and two crew.

He says they are analyzing weather conditions, boat capacity and the boat’s safety conditions as part of their investigation.

“There were 17 national tourists and two of the crew, a captain and an assistant. We are analyzing the weather conditions, the capacity of the boat, if it had the capacity to transport the 19 passengers and of course to see the conditions of the boat’s equipment.”

State Attorney General Raciel López Salazar

Both crew made it out alive. The captain of Diosa del Mar, Ramón Guadalupe “C”, was arrested Monday night, the same night of the accident. According to López Salazar, he is still in custody.

“Yes there are responsibilities here, yes there are and we have the captain detained. We are in the investigation process and cannot reach a conclusion at this time, but what I can say is that there are responsibilities there,” he said.

Boat Captain Ramón Guadalupe “C”

“The issue is an unfortunate event in which we have four people who lost their lives. There are 19 people, 17 national tourists and two crew members,” he explained at a recent press conference.

During a press conference Wednesday, the cooperative that the now-sunken boat belonged to, Operadora del Caribe (OPCA), argued that there was no negligence. The group representing OPCA said misinformation has appeared in some media and denied the boat was over capacity.

OPCA legal representative Jesús David Escobedo Padilla led the press conference during which time he stated that there was no overcapacity on Diosa del Mar I, which had a capacity for 16 passengers and two crew members.

OPCA held a press conference Wednesday. Photo: January 31, 2024.

He said that the boat was carrying one extra person, but it was not considered over capacity because it was an infant who was in his mother’s arms.

Escobedo Padilla also said that on the day of the accident, the port was not closed to vessels and that their cooperative provided 35 other tours that day. He also said all life jackets were in working order since they had been purchased new only days before.

Four Mexican nationals, tourists to the area, drowned in the January 29 sinking.

“Unfortunately when the boat turns over it creates suction and some people were sucked in and with work they were pulled out, but there was not enough time to save the lives of those four people. It was an accident,” he said.

On Wednesday, Governor Mara Lezama said they held a security meeting in which the accident was addressed.

“We had a security meeting and according to the information collected about the capacity of the boat, it was for 16 passengers and it seems that there was one extra person, that is, 17 passengers and two crew members and there were 18 life jackets,” she said.

Lezama said as a government they are supporting the families of the victims.

“The loss of the lives of four human beings and their families who are suffering a lot of pain is a very sad situation. They have received support and we have accompanied them at the Prosecutor’s Office to make the pertinent complaints,” she explained.

Lezama commented that the families of those who lost their lives are also being helped in funeral support and the transfer of the bodies to their places of origin.

“The accompaniment is also to return the bodies to their place of origin and they have all the support of the government. Investigations are also being carried out as they should be so that it does not happen again.

“Today, we made an agreement to verify each of the vessels and ensure that they go out to sea as they should and if not, act immediately,” she said.