Tourists and crew rescued in Galapagos after boat sinks

Authorities in Ecuador say 25 people saved after boat caught fire and sank off Galapagos Islands

Port authorities said the people aboard the boat were from the US, Canada and Ecuador. Reuters

A boat with 15 tourists and 10 crew members caught fire and sank off the Galapagos Islands on Wednesday, but Ecuadorean authorities said all aboard have been rescued.

The Ecuadorean navy said authorities ordered a nearby vessel to carry out the rescue after the distressed Cormorant I reported a fire in the engine room.

The boat, which had passed all technical inspections this year, sank at about 7am.

Port authorities said the people aboard the boat were from the US, Canada and Ecuador. The navy's statement said they were being taken to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island for medical care.

The navy said it had activated a contingency plan in the event of a fuel spill but a statement from the Galapagos National Park ruled out that possibility, saying “the diesel with which it operated was consumed during the fire”.

The park said environmental officials will still conduct an on-site inspection.

A dive boat sank in the archipelago two weeks ago, spilling diesel into the sea.

The Galapagos, about 1,000 kilometres from the Ecuadorean coast, is a magnet for ecological tourism. It was declared a Natural World Heritage Site in 1979 due to its diversity of plants and animals, which helped inspire Charles Darwin to elaborate the theory of evolution.

Updated: May 12, 2022, 3:52 AM