Report: 17 die when boat capsizes in Iran

January 22, 2012 - 6:35 AM

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Seventeen people have died after a storm capsized a passenger boat off of Iran's southern coast, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.

The boat sank Saturday evening while sailing between Hormuz Island and the port city of Bandar Abbas on the mainland, the report said. Rescue teams saved five passengers.

The report says the boat began its 11-mile (18-kilometer) journey despite a travel ban on light boats by shipping authorities, due to a storm with winds of 50 mph (80 kph).

An eyewitness told The Associated Press that most of the dead were senior citizens, members of a visiting tour to the island.

Every day dozens of passenger boats travel between Bandar Abbas and nearby islands near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, some 670 miles (1070 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran.