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February 5th, 2010

Two Found Dead After Boat Capsizes In Southern Chile

The barge Soledad II capsized Tuesday near the Playa La Mare and Carelmapu coast in Region X.  Ten boats and seven land vehicles are still searching for missing passengers who were onboard.

The bodies of Alicia Guerrero, 38, and Solange Quevado, 3, were found in the Playa La Mare in Maullin Wednesday, along with two life jackets.

Soledad II was sailing across the Chacao channel Tuesday when a five-meter wave struck her, causing the barge to overturn and then sink.  This, after maritime officials ordered boats to stay in port due to the bad weather Tuesday (wind gusts of up to 55km an hour and waves up to 6m).  The Soledad II’s captain sailed without permission.

At least one witness has said that the pilot of Soledad II was not driving the boat well and took the waves head on.

Aboard the Soledad II were Ramon Lozano, 44; his wife Alicia Guerrero, 38, their three daughters and grandson. The other family onboard was Jose Quevado, 44, his wife Berta Espinoza, 44, and their two young daughters.  The boat’s occupants were returning to their Ancud homes from a Carelmapu religious festival.

The Navy sent five boats, two helicopters, 21 divers, and a plane to begin the search. Thirty fishermen have also joined in the search.

Navy representatives have said that only half the passengers onboard Soledad II wore life jackets, and that the boat had a capacity for five people but had ten onboard at the time it sank.

Heavy rains and strong winds slowed the search yesterday off Chiloe Island in the southern Chilean region of Los Lagos.  Officials have said that it is unlikely that anyone survived due to the extremely cold water temperatures.

Our deepest sympathies go out to all involved in this tragedy at sea. Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers

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