LIMA – Two American tourists died in Peru when the cruise ship on which they were touring the Amazon River caught fire, the head of the Iquitos port authority, Oscar Garrido, told EFE.
The fatalities were Larry Morris Hammer, 74, and Cristy Jeins Hammer, 72, who died while being taken to the hospital in Iquitos, capital of the Amazon region of Loreto in northeastern Peru.
The fire broke out before dawn inside the cabin of the American couple, but the first to notice the flames were members of the ship’s crew, when the alarm went off at around 2:00 a.m.
At the time the blaze broke out, the cruise ship was in the Tahuayo region, heading for the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, the largest natural protected area in the country.
Garrido said the bodies of the U.S. citizens were taken to the morgue in Iquitos and the National Police’s Tourism Division informed the victims’ family members so they could undertake repatriation procedures.
The head of the Iquitos port authority added that up to now what started the fire on the Estrella Amazonica cruise ship is still unknown.
The ship is currently docked as investigations are carried out by a prosecutor and a detective, who are examining the interior of the ship.