At least 12 dead in Colombian boat sinking

At least a dozen people died after two boats sunk off the coast of Colombia, seven of which were children.

That's according to a Colombian naval official on Sunday.

Admiral Jose David Espita told Reuters the vessels sank on Saturday near Tumaco, Colombia's second most important Pacific port, and that the cause was still under investigation.

'We sympathize and express our condolences to the victims' relatives. All institutions in San Andres de Tumaco will continue to work until they are able to find the missing people at sea."

According to local officials, the two vessels were filled with passengers when they set off from Tumaco toward San Jose del Guayabo in Costa Rica.

Espita said none of the deceased were wearing lifejackets.

He added that it was unclear how many passengers remained missing, but that local residents and fishermen had saved 36 people so far.

The news comes as Colombia grapples with a migrant crisis, with hundreds being detained as the country's borders remain closed due to COVID-19.

Earlier this year four Haitians drowned after their vessel shipwrecked off Colombia's Caribbean coast, where they had intended to sail off for Panama.