Fresh reports reaching the desk of Africa Daily News, New York has revealed that an illegal passenger boat had also sank on Thursday along Brazil’s northern coast thereby killing at least 14 people with another 26 still unaccounted for.
The Local media had posted some images of rescuers using a canoe to bring victims to shore near Belem, the capital of Para state, and bodies laid out on the beach with sheets draped over them.
It had also been revealed that the boat’s owner had recently had another vessel suspended for operating illegally, but continued running this one without authorization, said Para state Governor Helder Barbalho.
“This was a clandestine vessel. The owner had been notified three times by regulators and the navy for operating another boat without a license. That vessel’s operations were suspended, but he got hold of another one and continued operating, and this tragedy happened,” he said.
“We have been mobilized since we got the news, working to find those who haven’t been located yet,” he added, saying the state government had set up a crisis team to oversee the search.
He said the authorities would “act firmly” to bring those responsible for the “horrific tragedy” to justice.
In all, 70 people were on the boat, 30 of them rescued alive, state officials said in a statement.
“The vessel was not authorized for inter-city passenger transport… and made the journey departing from a clandestine port in the area of Camara,” a settlement across the Marajo Bay from Belem, it said.
A police helicopter and 11 rescue boats, two of them carrying specialized divers, were aiding the search effort, it said.