Death toll in Brazil shipwreck rises to 45


Rio de Janeiro : The toll in last weekend’s shipwreck in Brazil’s Amazon river has risen to 45 with some 20 people still missing, EFE news agency reported Thursday quoting senior officials.

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Rescue teams found 11 more bodies Wednesday in the river and continue searching for the missing, Amazonas’ state fire chief Antonio Dias said.

“The search will continue until there is no one looking for a relative or a friend,” Dias said.

Dias said late Wednesday afternoon that so far the bodies of 19 women, 25 men and an one-year-old boy have been found.

Dias said the search area had been widened because the river’s strong current had carried some of the bodies all the way to Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, located some 84 km from the site where the shipwreck occurred.

The Comandante Sales 2008, which sailed from Comunidad de Pesquero with nearly 110 people on board, sank early Sunday off the town of Manacapuru.

Mayor of Manacapuru Washington Regis told the private Agencia Estado news agency that the toll could reach 50.

“After cross-checking the numbers of bodies and survivors with the city’s social services department, the conclusion was reached that at least 20 people are still missing,” Regis said.

Officials said overloading was the likely cause of the accident.

More than 50 survivors were rescued by passing vessels shortly after the accident, while some passengers reached the shore on their own.

This was the second shipwreck in Amazonas state this year.

On Feb 22, the Almirante Monteiro went down on a stretch of the Amazon near Itacoatiara – located some 270 km from Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state – killing 16 people, eight of them children.

Seventy people were rescued after the ship sank.