April 13, 2016
Update (3:50 p.m. EDT): According to a spokesperson for International Expeditions, "After clearing multiple government and independent safety inspections, the vessel has been cleared to resume normal operations."
(8:30 a.m. EDT) -- Two tourists, aged 74 and 72, have died following a fire in their cabin onboard a Peruvian Amazon cruise in the country's Tahuayo region.
The fire broke out onboard International Expeditions' 31-passenger La Estrella Amazonica on Sunday morning, as it sailed toward the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. It is unknown how the fire broke out.
In a statement from International Expeditions, a spokesperson said: "We regret to confirm that on Sunday, April 10, in the early hours, there was a fire which was isolated to a single cabin on La Estrella Amazonica, which was located about four hours by river from Iquitos, Peru on the Amazon River at the time. The vessel is chartered by International Expeditions.
"The vessel crew acted quickly to respond to the incident. However, it is with great sadness that we confirm that there were two fatalities among guests as a result of the fire. Their immediate family members have been informed. We will not be releasing any further details on the guests on board, but there are no further injuries to report.
"We are continuing to provide support to the family members of those affected and will continue to do so. We are also working with the remaining guests to ensure that they are cared for and return home safely."
Van Perry, the president of International Expeditions, is currently in Peru supporting passengers, staff and family members. Perry said: "We will only resume travel on this vessel when we believe it to be absolutely safe to do so. We extend our sympathy to the families and we thank our colleagues who have worked hard to look after their guests at an exceptionally difficult time."
Cruise Critic is awaiting details on the condition of the ship and when or if the sailing might resume.
--By Kerry Spencer, Editor