Death toll rises to 15 in Brazilian boat accident

By Xinhua,

Brasilia : A total of 15 bodies have been recovered from the boat which, with at least 80 people on board, sunk Sunday in the Solimoes River in Brazil’s northern Amazonas state, said the Brazilian navy.

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According to the Department of Fire-Fighters in the city of Manacapuru, some people on board the boat managed to reach the river bank following the sinking. So far, there has been no information about the number of survivors from the accident.

The boat was transporting people from a party and sunk near Manacapuru, located 70 kilometers west to Manaus, capital of the Amazonas state, fire-fighters who took part in the rescue operation were quoted as saying.

A group of at least 12 divers and about 20 fire-fighters were sent to the place of the accident to find possible survivors.

The Brazilian navy also sent two motor boats with about eight servicemen to take part in the operation.

According to the navy, the boat wasn’t registered by the local port authorities.

The boat “was inspected by agents of the Authority of ports on January 19, in Manacapuru, and was seized for not having necessary documents and sailing without qualified crew members,” said the navy.

The reason of the accident remains unknown, but fire-fighters attributed the accident to a possible overload because the boat was constructed only to transport 50 people.

On February 21, a boat with about 90 people sunk in another river of the Amazonas state, 16 passengers were killed.