Authorities charged a 22-year-old ferry captain with negligent homicide after the boat, overcrowded with New Year's travelers, sank off the Caribbean coast. Sixty-seven people drowned and 14 were missing.
Officials said 46 people survived the sinking of the ferry Justo Rufino Barrios II in Amatique Bay on Guatemala's east coast Sunday.Meanwhile, police in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, said they would seek homicide charges against two cruise officials and two port guards in the New Year's Eve capsizing of a sightseeing boat in which at least 53 people drowned.
Brazilian authorities also said Monday they were investigating allegations that the guards were paid to let the boat sail overloaded into choppy waters. It was still not clear how many passengers were missing because cruise operators said the passenger list went down with the 100-foot flat-bottomed craft. Estimates of those on board ranged from 130 to 150, but it was not known how many were rescued by nearby boats.
Two Utahns aboard the Brazilian boat survived.
Juan Pablo Ezquibel was arrested after Guatemalan authorities determined that about 120 people were aboard the 30-ton ferry, which was authorized to carry 90, said Capt. Anibal Giron Arreola, second-in-command at the Puerto Barrios naval base.
He said by telephone that the ferry ran out of fuel midway on a 16-mile run across the bay from Livingston to Puerto Barrios and sank after a naval patrol boat tried to tow it to port.
Officials had yet to determine the exact cause of the sinking, but Giron Arreola said the ferry captain was slow to respond to requests by the skipper of the naval patrol boat to take control of the ferry's wheel once it was under tow. He said the patrol boat captain believed the ferry's rudder was unmanned while under tow.
No Americans were on board, he said.
A morgue official said 13 bodies were identified.
Navy patrol boats, fishing vessels and other private craft searched for the missing Monday.