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Pompeo says US diplomatic staffer in Colombia is missing and presumed dead following boating accident

Posted January 20, 2020 10:46 a.m. EST

— Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday that an American staffer from the US Mission in Colombia is missing and presumed dead after a boating accident over the weekend.

"To my entire State Department team, Susan and I are with you in your grief," Pompeo said. "You have my word the Department will do everything in our power to comfort and support those who have suffered from this devastating loss."

The top US diplomat, speaking alongside the Colombian president in Bogota, said the boating accident occurred on Saturday and that other government personnel had been involved. Some were rescued with "modest injuries" and one was airlifted to the US for treatment, Pompeo said. The missing worker's next of kin had been notified, Pompeo said, but they were withholding the individual's name for privacy considerations.

Colombian President Ivan Duque expressed his condolences over the accident. He said Navy, Coast Guard and local services were participating in search efforts for the body of the missing worker.

According to a Monday press release from the Colombian military, the accident occurred near the Rosario Islands, off the coast of Cartagena. 11 of the 12 passengers in the boat were rescued, the release said.

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