At least 10 dead, 10 missing in Amazon River shipwreck

Other News Materials 22 February 2008 09:02 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - At least 10 people died and 10 others were missing after a ship carrying more than 100 people capsized in the Amazon River in northern Brazil, the fire department in the state of Amazonia said.

Four children and four women were among the dead, while 92 people were had been rescued, according to the port authority officials.

The Almirante Monteiro went down early Thursday near the town of Itacoatiara, some 270 kilometres from the Amazonas state capital Manaus, after crashing with a ferry.

Colonel Antonio Dias, commander of the Manaus Ports Authority, said that 92 occupants of the ship were rescued by a police boat.

"Fortunately, a civilian police boat was passing by the area and managed to pull most of the victims out of the water. I think that, if it had not been for that, there would have been a catastrophe," the military officer said.

Dias said the Almirante Monteiro, which has a capacity of 165 passengers, had left the town of Alenquer, in the state of Para, with 70 passengers and a crew of 12 late Wednesday and was headed for Manaus.

Along the way, many more passengers embarked, and the authorities estimate it was carrying at least 110 people when it capsized.

Ten Navy divers and a dozen members of the fire department were involved in rescue efforts, supported by a boat, a speedboat and a helicopter.

The cause of the accident was being investigated by the ports authority in Manaus.