Four people have died and over a dozen were rescued in the shipwreck of a small boat carrying tourists between Isla Mujeres and Cancún, two vacation hot spots in Mexico, on Monday night.
A total of 19 people — 17 tourists from Mexico, the captain, and a helper — were on board the small boat, Raciel López Salazar, the attorney general of Quintana Roo state, told reporters Tuesday.
The boat, called Diosa del Mar — which translates to “Goddess of the Sea” — was from Puerto Juárez. It “wrecked” in the bay between Isla Mujeres and Cancún, the Isla Mujeres city council said in a news release. Isla Mujeres is about 3.5 miles off Cancún.
The boat was returning to Cancún from Isla Mujeres. It’s not clear whether it capsized or sank somehow.
The captain survived and was taken into custody, the city council said.
Investigators from the state of Quintana Roo are investigating whether the boat had the capacity to hold 19 people and whether `weather played a role in the incident.
“We are analyzing the climatological conditions, the capacity of the boat and to see if the boat had the capacity to transport 19 people, and the condition of the equipment on the boat. There are people who are responsible for this, we have the captain detained,” Salazar told reporters.
Asked about the captain, he stressed that the investigation continues but said, “I can tell you that he had some responsibility.”
Quintana Roo’s state coordination of civil protection department tweeted Monday evening that a boat search-and-rescue operation was carried out in Isla Mujeres with the help of local agencies and the Mexican navy and that some of the people who were rescued were receiving medical attention.
High waves were reported in the area Monday night, and local media reported that the wake of a larger passing vessel may have played a role. The passage between Isla Mujeres and Cancún is notably busy, full of ferries and pleasure craft, many carrying tourists.