Sunday, January 24, 2016

British newlyweds on honeymoon rescued from Caribbean tourist boat tragedy that killed 13 as they ring family to confirm they escaped unhurt from fatal sinking

British couple: Edward and Charlotte Beckett, who survived the tragedy, pictured on their wedding day
A British couple rescued from a sinking tourist boat in the Caribbean are said to be 'OK' after surviving the tragedy which claimed 13 lives. 
Edward, 30, and Charlotte Beckett, 28, were among 21 people saved when the Reina del Caribe, Spanish for Caribbean Queen, capsized off the coast of Nicaragua after overturning in strong winds on Saturday.
The pair's names were included on a list of survivors from five countries including the UK, U.S. and Brazil published by authorities, and a family member said the newly-married pair are 'OK'. 

Tragedy: Men carry the body of one of 13 Costa Ricans who died when a boat capsized in the Caribbean
Tragedy: Men carry the body of one of 13 Costa Ricans who died when a boat capsized in the Caribbean

The couple have been flown to the Nicaraguan capital Managua from Corn Island with other survivors, including 13 Costa Ricans, two Americans and a Brazilian. 
They were taken to a bus and driven to an undisclosed location after arriving at Augusto C. Sandino International Airport.
Mrs Beckett's father Martin Rainsford said: 'We got a call at midnight last night from the both of them to say they were OK.
'We didn't know anything was wrong so it was a shock but we are very relieved. 
'They were on their way home anyway so they will be heading back to Boston as soon as possible.' 
He added: 'We are very sorry for the other families who have lost people.' 
The couple married in Monemvasia, Greece, in August and were on their honeymoon this week. Their wedding was attended by retail expert Mary Portas. 
The pair relocated from north London to Boston in the U.S. where Mr Beckett is studying for a Masters degree. Mrs Beckett works as a lawyer.
Poor weather and high winds caused the craft to capsize while travelling between the paradise islands of Corn Island and Little Corn Island.
The British couple were reportedly rescued with two American tourists, three Nicaraguans and 12 Costa Ricans.
Paradise: The boat sank while it was travelling between Corn Island and Little Corn Island (pictured)
Paradise: The boat sank while it was travelling between Corn Island and Little Corn Island (pictured)
There are conflicting reports about who died in the incident - some say 11 women, two men and a child were killed, while others believe it was 13 women. All those who lost their lives were Costa Rican.
The skipper, Hilario Blandon, 53, was rescued alive before being arrested along with his assistant Eliot Absalon Prats Carter, 30.
Local authorities said the pair had left port without authorisation in adverse weather conditions.
We got a call at midnight last night from the both of them to say they were OK
Charlotte Beckett's father, Martin Rainsford
Boat launches had reportedly been suspended in the area due to high wind speeds that reached 25 to 30 knots after several days of stormy weather around the remote islands.
Military police chief, General Francisco Diaz confirmed: 'Both are under arrest and will be tried for the crimes of manslaughter and exposing people to danger.'
Guillermo Gonzales, co-director of the National System of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, added: 'They put the lives of people at risk believing everything would be okay and now we're lamenting the loss of life in this clear case of negligence.'
Nicaragua government spokeswoman, Rosario Murillo confirmed: 'We are talking about 21 people who have been rescued alive and 13 people dead.
'This is the dimension of this tragedy which causes us tremendous pain because our Costa Rican brothers and sisters were holidaying in Nicaraguan Caribbean waters.
'Navy chiefs have told us there was an alert out warning ships not to leave port.
'We feel heartbroken about what's happened and we have to ensure there is no repeat and the people responsible for this tragedy are held accountable.
'They are in jail on Corn Island but they to be tried.
Members of the National Police and the Navy pictured on Corn Island, Nicaragua, where the bodies of those who died are being taken
Members of the National Police and the Navy pictured on Corn Island, Nicaragua, where the bodies of those who died are being taken
The British couple were reportedly rescued with two American tourists, three Nicaraguans and 12 Costa Ricans, but 13 people lost their lives
The British couple were reportedly rescued with two American tourists, three Nicaraguans and 12 Costa Ricans, but 13 people lost their lives
'President Daniel Ortega has instructed the head of the Army, Julio Cesar Aviles, to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again.
'We have to be a lot stricter with regards to the control of the boats sailing in our seas.'
A UK Foreign Office spokesman said: 'We are aware of the sinking of a passenger boat between Corn Island and Little Corn Island in the Caribbean Sea on January 23.
'We are in touch with the local authorities and providing consular assistance to affected British nationals.'
Local reports said an unnamed Costa Rican survivor, the only one to speak, contradicted the official version of the incident, which said the vessel had overturned in high winds after being hit by a wave.
The witness was quoted as saying: 'The weather was good. Everyone used their life jackets.'
Costa Rican President Guillermo Solis announced there would be a day of national mourning in his country on Monday.
He said: 'I share the profound grief of the families of the people who died.'
The Corn Islands, 43 miles from Nicaragua, are a popular tourist destination for snorkelling and scuba diving.

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