Red Cross: Fire kills 2 on tourist catamaran carrying 100 in Pacific Ocean off Costa Rica

Associated Press

A fire broke out on a catamaran carrying tourists on a pleasure cruise off Costa Rica on Thursday, killing two people and leaving dozens more adrift for hours, the country's Red Cross reported.

Authorities received an emergency call at 9:30 a.m. (10:30 a.m. EST; 1530 GMT) as the vessel was off Punta Leona along the country's central Pacific Coast.

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"We were alerted that a catamaran was sinking with about 100 people on board and sent our personnel to the area to begin operations," said Guillermo Arroyo, director of rescues and operations for the Red Cross.

Red Cross spokesman Freddy Roman said 16 people had already been plucked from the waters, and others were in the process of being rescued.

More emergency crews were being sent to the area about 56 miles (90 kilometers) from the capital, San Jose.