Two Brit tourists rescued from Caribbean boat which sank and killed 13

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’.

Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13

British couple: Edward and Charlotte Beckett, who survived the tragedy, pictured on their wedding day

Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13

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.

‘We were really shocked and concerned for them.’

He explained that lawyer Mrs Beckett and Harvard student Mr Beckett were left with only the clothes on their backs after the accident.

Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13

Return: A survivor of the shipwreck cries as he arrived at the Augusto C. Sandino airport in Managua, on January 24

Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13 Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13

Relief: Relatives welcome their loved ones as they arrive back in Costa Rica, at Juan Santamaria airport in Alajuela on January 24

Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13

Homecoming: Tearful relatives embrace the Costa Rican survivors of the shipwreck off the coast of Nicaragua, which left 13 Costa Ricans dead

Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13

Family: A survivor of the shipwreck is welcomed by his family as he returns to his home country following the tragedy. The Nicaraguan navy’s Admiral Marvin Corrales confirmed that, although the search for the four missing people was called off overnight, it will be continued

Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13 Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13

Safe: Survivors of the shipwreck arrive at the Augusto C. Sandino airport in Managua on January 24, where they were taken to an undisclosed location

Mr Rainsford added: They lost their passports and everything that was in their cases. All they have was what they were wearing at the time.

They didn t have any injures. We are mighty relieved and so sad for the other people who died. 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 in Business Administration at Harvard Business School. 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.

Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13

Grief: Costa Rican police officers carry a coffin containing the body of a victim upon arrival at Juan Santamaria airport in Alajuela, Costa Rica, on January 24, after a boat sank near Little Corn Island, off the coast of Nicaragua

Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13

Lost: Nine of the 13 bodies of those who died in the tragedy were returned to the victims’ home country of Nicaragua last night. The search for four missing passengers was called off overnight, but will be continued

Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13

Probe: Forensic experts transfer the bodies of Costa Ricans who died in a boating accident, from the Augusto C. Sandino airport to the forensic medicine building in Managua on January 24

Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13

Investigation: The bodies of those who died arrive at the Augusto C. Sandino airport in Managua on January 24, to be returned to their home country of Costa Rica. Both the boat’s skipper and his assistant are facing manslaughter charges following the tragedy

It is reported that 11 women, two men and a child were killed. All those who lost their lives were Costa Rican.

The skipper, Nicaraguan 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, with waves reaching heights of up to 2 metres. 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.’

A grim procession of seven ambulances from the country s Ministry of Health took the bodies of the dead from the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport to the forensic medicine building in Managua. The string of ambulances was accompanied by officers from the National Police.

Some of the bodies of those who died were repatriated to Costa Rica on Sunday evening. In total, nine bodies were recovered from the shipwreck, with four people still missing. Admiral Marvin Corrales, head of the Nicaraguan navy, confirmed that, although the searches were called off throughout the night, they will be continued.

Nicaragua government spokeswoman, Rosario Murillo confirmed: ‘We are talking about 21 people who have been rescued alive and 13 people dead.

Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13

Members of the National Police and the Navy pictured on Corn Island, Nicaragua, where the bodies of those who died are being taken

Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13

The British couple were reportedly rescued with two American tourists, three Nicaraguans and 12 Costa Ricans, but 13 people lost their lives

‘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 has 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 are to be tried.

‘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.

Two Brit Tourists Rescued From Caribbean Boat Which Sank And Killed 13

Paradise: The boat sank while it was travelling between Corn Island and Little Corn Island (pictured)

‘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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