Explosion of Cruise Ship Off Galapagos Leaves 6 Missing, 11 Hurt
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) _ An explosion aboard a tourist ship off the Galapagos Island early Friday has left six people missing and 11 injured, the Ecuadoran Navy said.
The Navy and U.S. Embassy in Quito said there were reports five Americans were among those missing from the 71-foot ship Bartolome II, which was on an eight-day cruise of the islands 600 miles west of Guayaquil, Ecuador. An Ecuadoran crew member was also reported missing.
There were conflicting reports two Australians and three Americans were among the six missing.
Eleven people aboard the ship, last reported eight miles off the isle of Seymour, were rescued following the 4:15 a.m. incident and were taken to the mainland for hospitalization and treatment. Most were believed taken to Quito, authorities said, but details remained sketchy late Friday.
Four of the 11 were seriously hurt, according to the reports.
The remote islands, visited by the explorer Charles Darwin, are a popular tourist site replete with rare birds, fish and flora.
Authorities said it was believed a gas leak caused the explosion on board the Nuevo Mundo line, which is based in this Andean capital. The boat caught fire and quickly sank, according to the reports.