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Captain arrested after four drown on Isla Mujeres boat tour

Isla Mujeres, Q.R. — The captain of an Isla Mujeres boat that left four dead was arrested Monday night. A search operation for missing boat passengers began Monday evening after an Isla Mujeres vessel took on water and sank.

On Monday night, the captain of that boat was arrested after four people were located drowned. The detained captain faces charges of negligent conduct for exceeding the capacity of his 26-foot vessel.

Boat La Diosa del Mar (Goddess of the Sea), which left the Perla Negra dock at 6:00 p.m., sank Monday evening after it left Isla Mujeres bound for Puerto Juarez. The 26-foot vessel with a capacity for 16 was carrying 17 passengers when it took on water and sank.

The Coordinación Estatal de Protección Civil of Quintana Roo (State Civil Protection) reported a search and rescue operation late Monday. “Boat search and rescue operation carried out in Isla Mujeres.”

Municipal Police were at the scene where the four bodies were returned to land Monday night. Photo: January 29, 2024.

Late Monday night they reported that Civil Protection, “together with elements of SEMAR, Port Captaincy, Municipal Civil Protection of Isla Mujeres and the SSC of Quintana Roo carried out a search operation to find the whereabouts of people who were traveling aboard a boat after the incident was reported.”

It was shortly after 9:00 p.m. when they reported “rescue teams are working to find the whereabouts of people reported missing. Some are already receiving medical attention through the corresponding instances.”

The captain of the boat was arrested Monday night.
Photo: SSC Jan. 29, 2024.

Boat La Diosa del Mar sank while carrying 17 tourists. One woman, two adult men and a 10 year old boy are among the dead. It is not clear if the remaining 13 passengers were located, one of which is reported to be a 2-year-old child.

Boat captain Ramón Guadalupe “C” has been arrested. The boat sank about half way between Isla Mujeres and Puerto Juarez. Melchor Manuel Briceño, the Isla Mujeres Director of Civil Protection, reported the boat was carrying a total of 19 people when it sank.

Authorities participate in the search for the missing boat passengers late Monday. Photo: January 29, 2024.

He said the initial rescue operations were carried out by volunteers with private boats. Two people from the boat remain hospitalized, one of which is a 23-year-old woman who is reported to be serious.

Manuel Briceño said he has requested an exhaustive investigation that is to include the Port Captain of Puerto Juárez, seeking to clarify the circumstances that led to this tragic accident.

The boat is reported to belong to a company located in Puerto Juárez. The group were on a day tour to the island and were returning to the mainland at the time of the accident.