August 17, 2005

More than 100 missing as Ecuadorean boat sinks

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) - More than 100 people were
missing after an Ecuadorean boat packed with would-be illegal
emigrants sank in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Colombia,
the Colombian Navy said on Wednesday.

A fishing boat saved seven men and two women but the boat
that sank was carrying 120 people when it only had capacity for
15, the Navy said in a news release, without saying when the
sinking occurred.

"The Colombian Navy immediately began a search and rescue
operation to find the bodies of the shipwreck victims using an
airplane and marine patrol launch," it said.

The boat left the Ecuadorean port of Manta without proper
authorization and the Navy received news of the sinking, which
took place 140 miles, from Colombia's Malpelo Island, at 6 p.m.
on Tuesday.