Canadians safe after yacht hits Galapagos reef
A Toronto couple and their relatives were among 16 Canadians and eight Ecuadorian crew members rescued from a yacht that ran aground Wednesday evening in the Galapagos Islands.
Three generations of a Toronto family, ranging in age from less than 10 to 70, were aboard the yacht when it hit a reef near a remote island.
Navy and national park vessels conducted a "safe and orderly" rescue, and there were no injuries, said the yacht's operator, Quasar Expeditions.
All of the people aboard the yacht were taken to the nearby island of Santa Cruz where Quasar was transferring them to other boats to finish their tour of the archipelago, said the tour operator's local marketing manager, Fernando Diez.
He said the cause of the mishap was not yet clear but that the accident might have been the fault of the yacht's captain.
Diez said none of the 3,500 gallons of fuel aboard the yacht had spilled and that an attempt would be made Thursday afternoon to free the vessel from choppy waters adjacent to the small island of Camano.
"We are completely aware that we need to be ready to combat any type of contamination there might be, although at the moment, there has been none," Diez told The Associated Press.
A spokeswoman for Canada's Foreign Affairs Department, Dana Cryderman, confirmed that all Canadians who were aboard are safe and said the Canadian embassy in Ecuador was providing assistance.
Several members of the group lost their passports and will not be able to leave the country. They have been told to travel to Ecuador's capital city, Quito, next Monday where they can be issued new passports.
The Galapagos Islands were made famous by the 19th-century naturalist Charles Darwin who documented their unique flora and fauna and fragile ecosystem.
Each passenger aboard the eight-cabin yacht paid $3,750 for the eight-day trip.
With files from The Associated Press