Passenger catamaran sinks off Cartagena, 33 rescued
Nearly three dozen tourists were pulled from the water on Sunday after a tourist catamaran sank off the port of Cartagena, Spain.
At around 4:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, passers-by called Cartagena emergency services dispatchers to report that the excursion boat Olé Cuarto has been damaged. Several Good Samaritan ships – including at least three harbor tugs from the Port Authority – responded immediately and began rescuing the 33 passengers, and all were safely embarked at around 5:30 p.m.
The Spanish rescue agency Salvamento Maritimo also sent three of its own rescue boats and a Red Cross response boat to the scene, as well as a helicopter. They performed additional follow-up search to ensure that all were found and that no other survivors were found inside or near the ship.
Images courtesy of Salvamento Maritimo
Tourists who were rescued from the water were delivered safely to the nearby cruise terminal, where first responders provided assistance. According to local media outlet La Verdad, 14 of the survivors were taken to hospital for treatment of bruising and hypothermia.
“We were seated and suddenly a very loud noise was heard, like a plastic breakage. And we saw that the ship had broken on the right side. Then it sank,” said passenger María. Ángeles Balaguer at the local newspaper La Verdad.
The sailing catamaran Olé Cuarto was used as a commercial excursion boat in the port of Cartagena, usually doing several 45-minute cruises per day. The reason for the sinking of the vessel is not known and its wreckage will be brought up for investigation.