Amazon River Boat Sinks, 13 Dead

Strong currents on the Amazon River capsized a boat on Friday, leaving 13 passengers dead and others missing, according to local authorities.

The tragedy occurred in the early morning hours, while many aboard the small vessel were sleeping. The boat, identified by Port Authority Lieutenant Marco Antonio Costa as the Leao do Norte, was making its way toward the Brazilian port city of Belem when it overturned in a curve toward the mouth of the Amazon River.

According to local police, the Leao do Norte may have been carrying upwards of 60 individuals during its voyage, although the boat was designed to hold just 25 passengers.

While it remains unclear if overcapacity played any role in causing the boat to sink, it has hindered the rescue process, according to military police Sergeant Orivaldo Santos.

“We don’t know how many people are missing because the captain doesn’t know how many were on board,” Santos explained to Reuters.

Two helicopters, a rescue ship, and six divers were reportedly dispatched to the Amazon River location where the boat sank.

While at least 46 passengers from the Leao do Norte have been rescued, 13 were found dead and an unknown number are still feared missing.

Boats are often the only available means of transportation in certain remote parts of Brazil. The individuals aboard the Leao do Norte were reportedly making the 10-hour journey to Belem’s market to sell food wares such as fruit and shrimp.

Local police have indicated that an investigation is currently underway to determine what exactly may have caused the Amazon River boat to sink.

[Top image via Shutterstock]