Over 20 tourists who set out from Isla Colón in Bocas del Toro on Sunday morning, Dec. 31 and were the subject of a night long search by the National Aeronaval Service (Senan), had to swim for their lives to Cayo Agua after their boats were overturned by strong waves.
The boats were spotted by the crew of a Senan plane on the morning of January 1.
Originally it was reported that the missing tourists traveling in water taxis were Costa Rican but after the rescue, it was discovered that there were Argentinian, Spanish, Guatemalan, Costa Rican and Panamanian citizens among the passengers.
For Matías Cardillo, an Argentinian citizen living in Panama it was a traumatic experience, reports La Prensa, and he denounced the irresponsibility of the captains of boats and those who offer tours despite the bad weather.
He said that the tourists several times asked if they would leave for the Zapatilla and Coral keys.in the bad weather. According to the tourist, the captains responded that weather was always like that early in the day and changed after 10:00 a.m., which never happened.
He called on the authorities to initiate a thorough investigation and sanction those responsible.
Cardillo also requested that the vessels be provided with the minimum security equipment, like radio communication, cell phone, flares and good lifeguards.
Leoncio Guerra the regional director of the Panama Maritime Authority, , said that an investigation will begin.