Latin America & Caribbean

Costa Rica mourns 13 tourists drowned in boat accident

The bodies of nine Costa Ricans are received by authorities at Juan Santamaria Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica, 24 January 2016 Image copyright EPA
Image caption The bodies of nine of the victims arrived in Costa Rica on Sunday

Costa Rica is holding a day of national mourning on Monday after 13 of its citizens died in a boating accident in neighbouring Nicaragua.

The small tourist boat carrying more than 30 people capsized off Little Corn Island in the Caribbean on Saturday.

The Nicaraguan authorities said bad weather was to blame but one survivor disputed that theory.

Police in Nicaragua said the boat's captain and his mate were being investigated for alleged manslaughter.

The boat, which was also carrying British, American and Brazilian tourists, was travelling between Little Corn Island and Corn Island.

There have been conflicting reports as to how many people were on board at the time of the accident, with some sources saying it was 34 and others quoting 37.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The boat sank off Little Corn Island in the Caribbean

The islands are popular destinations because of their white beaches and clear waters.

According to the Nicaraguan Navy, there were high winds when the boat capsized.

Navy officials said a warning had been issued to vessels on both Little Corn Island and Corn Island to wait out the storm.

It is not clear if the boat's captain was aware of the warning.

Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez said many of those who drowned had been trapped underneath the boat when it turned over.

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