Americans Reported Missing After Ship Explosion
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) _ An apparent gas leak caused an explosion aboard a tourist ship off the Galapagos Islands, injuring 11 people and leaving six others missing, authorities said.
The Ecuadoran Navy and U.S. Embassy in Quito said there were reports that the missing in the blast early Friday included five Americans and an Ecuadoran crew member.
There were conflicting reports that two Australians and three Americans were among the missing.
The 71-foot ship Bartolome II was on an eight-day cruise of the islands 600 miles west of Guayaquil, Ecuador, when the explosion occurred at 4:15 a.m.
The vessel, based in Quito, caught fire and quickly sank eight miles off the isle of Seymor, authorities said.
Eleven people on board were rescued 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, they said.
The remote islands, visited by the explorer Charles Darwin, are a popular tourist site replete with rare birds, fish and flora.