Gale-force winds that continue to buffet Costa Rica this week are likely to blame for the sinking of a tourist catamaran carrying more than 100 passengers Thursday morning, claiming the lives of three people, according to several national news sources. Two passengers remain unaccounted for at this time, according to the Public Security Ministry.
The National Meteorological Institute (IMN) issued an alert Thursday warning of winds that could reach between 70 and 100 kph in the Central Valley and the Northern Pacific, where the vessel sunk several miles off the coast of Punta Leona. On Thursday, sustained winds were expected between 30 and 55 kph across the country with gusts reaching up to between 80 and 100 kph in mountainous areas, the Central Valley and the Northern Pacific due to a high pressure system.
The IMN recommended people keep an eye out for falling tree limbs, electrical wires or other objects jolted by sudden gusts. The institute also warned of strong turbulence in mountainous regions for airplanes.