At least 17 dead in Brazil boat accident

May 6th, 2008 - 8:56 am ICT by admin  

Rio de Janeiro, May 6 (DPA) At least 17 people died and 30 remained missing Monday in Brazil after an unlicensed ship floundered and partially sank a day earlier in the Solimoes river in the Amazonian state of Amapa. The Brazilian news website Folha online cited forensic authorities in Amapa as saying they had recovered 17 dead bodies from the accident.

The ship, Comandante Sales, was reportedly carrying some 80 people when it floundered, though many of the passengers were able to swim to the bank. There was no official list of passengers.

The Navy Command said in a statement Sunday that the ship had not been unauthorized to leave port since January, because it lacked the necessary documents and its crew lacked required training.

The shipwreck occurred some 20 minutes after the boat left Lago del Pesquero, where many of the passengers had taken part in a religious celebration.

Another boat immediately went to the aid of the passengers, and Fire Department forces later succeeded in getting the ship righted and anchoring it on the riverbank. Rescue efforts - with some 100 people involved - were suspended late Sunday and continued early Monday.

Authorities were launching an investigation into the causes of the accident.

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