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4 tourists die in Mexico shipwreck between Cancun and Isla Mujeres

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Four people have died and over a dozen were rescued in the shipwreck of a small boat carrying tourists between Isla Mujeres and Cancun, 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 Lopez Salazar, the Attorney General of Quintana Roo, told reporters Tuesday. 

The boat, called “Diosa del Mar” — which translates to “Goddess of the Sea” — was from Puerto Juarez and “wrecked” in the bay between Isla Mujeres and Cancun, the Isla Mujeres City Council said in a news release. Isla Mujeres is about 3.5 miles off Cancun’s shore.

The boat was returning to Cancun from Isla Mujeres. It’s not clear if the vessel capsized or somehow sunk.

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 if 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. 

When asked about the captain, he stressed the investigation is ongoing, but noted, “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 rescued were receiving medical attention. 

There were reportedly high waves in the area on 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 Cancun is notably busy, full of ferries and pleasure craft, many carrying tourists.

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