BELIZE CITY, Belize -- Hurricane Iris walloped the south coast of
Belize in the early hours of Oct. 9, but quickly lost its punch as
the category four storm made landfall.
However, a 28-passenger live-aboard dive boat capsized when a
storm surge snapped the mooring line. As many as 20 passengers are
feared dead, according to Patricia Rose, spokeswoman for Peter
Hughes Diving in Miami.
The 120-foot Wave Dancer, which had been chartered by the
Richmond Dive Club of Richmond, Va., was moored with other dive
boats near Big Creek, 80 miles southwest of Belize City.
Belize City had been evacuated prior to the storm, so hotel
rooms were not available for the dive boat passengers. Most
residents moved inland from Belize City to Belmopan, about 50 miles
west, before the storm struck.
Belize's northern offshore islands of San Pedro and Ambergris
Caye had little damage. Southern coastal towns had damage from wind
and storm surges.
Hurricane Iris was downgraded to a very weakened tropical
depression as it moved inland across Belize. Western Belize had no
Earlier, the storm caused wave surges and rough seas along
Jamaica's south coast and mudslides in parts of the Dominican
Republic's south coast.