Two Tourists Dead in River Cruise Ship Fire
Two elderly American tourists on the river cruise ship La Estrella Amazonica died in a cabin fire in the early hours of Tuesday morning, say Peruvian authorities.
Oscar Garrido, director of the Iquitos port authority, told EFE that Larry Morris Hammer, 74, and Cristy Jeins Hammer, 72, died during an evacuation to a hospital following a blaze in their cabin.
The crew were reportedly the first to notice the fire when alarms went off at around two in the morning.
At the time of the fire, the couple were on an Amazon River cruise to Peru's Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.
Investigations by local authorities and prosecutors will continue. Local media suggest that either an electrical short circuit or a cigarette are suspected as potential causes of ignition, but a final finding will take more time.
A spokeswoman for the vessel’s charterer, International Expeditions, said that the fire was confined to one cabin and that all other passengers and crew were safe and uninjured. She confirmed that the Estrella’s systems passed inspection and the vessel was cleared for normal operation.
The remaining guests from La Estrella Amazonica departed on April 13, accompanied by International Expeditions President Van Perry, who has been in Peru since Monday to provide support to the guests and crew and oversee the vessel inspection.
“The external and internal investigations into the accident are still ongoing, and International Expeditions will work with the authorities and the vessel owners to maintain a commitment to safety now and in the future. We continue to support our guests here in Peru, and the families of the deceased remain in our thoughts,” Mr. Perry said in a statement.