Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Seven people have died and 16 are still missing after this riverboat sank in the Amazon in a storm.
The boat Anna Karoline III left the Santana port on Friday evening and was travelling on the river Jari, one of the Amazon’s tributaries that flows through the state of Amapa in north-eastern Brazil.
The ship’s captain reportedly called the emergency services on Saturday asking for help as they had encountered a storm and strong winds.
The passenger ship reportedly began sinking and brigades from the Captaincy of the Ports (Brazil’s river authority), boats from the Fire Department and an aeroplane and a helicopter of the Tactical Air Group (GTA) of Amapa went to the scene.
Local media report the authorities have confirmed six women and one man died during the sinking while 16 passengers are still reportedly missing.
The boat reportedly had a capacity for 242 people although local authorities believe that only between 60 and 70 people were travelling on the boat according to the testimony of the people rescued.
Passenger Vanderleia Mendes Monteiro, 45, who was rescued from the scene told reporters that another ship had pulled up alongside the Anna Karoline III when “we heard someone shouting ‘it’s falling into the water’. It was very quick, a matter of seconds.
She added: “The boat then overturned with people still inside.”
She says she managed to grab life jackets and save her son Nicolas, 11, while her husband Nilson Rocha Monteiro, 49, pulled them to safety as she does not know how to swim.
She said the trio went through a window and her husband pulled them up up the side of the boat through the water as it was overturning, saying “it was like a scene from a film” before they were rescued by a nearby vessel.
The register of the passengers on-board was not handed in at the port, according to reports.
The Brazilian navy has launched an investigation to determine the causes of the shipwreck.
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