- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 14, 2017

TUXTLA GUTIERREZ, Mexico (AP) - An American woman drowned in a river boat accident Tuesday in the famed Sumidero Canyon in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexican authorities said.

A Civil Protection rescuer told The Associated Press that the accident took place in the afternoon when the pilot lost control of the boat as it was carrying 40 Mexican and foreign tourists.

The person said that the victim was identified from her U.S. passport as 56-year-old Leticia Ferrer Figueroa and that travelers accompanying her said she was from Houston. The rescuer was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City said it was aware of the accident and was prepared to provide any necessary consular support.

Fourteen other passengers were injured, none seriously.

Local prosecutors said they had opened an investigation and were searching for the pilot, who fled after the accident.

Sumidero Canyon is known for its lush greenery, crocodiles and vertical walls that rise as high as 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) from the river. It is a popular day trip from the colonial town of San Cristobal de las Casas.

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