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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 06:25 GMT
Ferry sinks in Amazon collision
Police and rescue workers search for bodies around the partially sunken Almirante Monteiro, 21 February 2008
Some 70 rescuers were involved in the rescue operation
At least 10 people have been killed and nine are still missing after a ferry sank as a result of a collision with a barge on the Brazilian Amazon.

The vessels collided early on Thursday near Itacoatiara in the jungle state of Amazonas, and most victims seem to have been trapped in cabins on the ferry.

More than 100 people were aboard the ferry at the time, and rescue teams pulled 90 people from the water.

But chances of finding any more survivors were slim, officials said.

A navy vessel, a helicopter and some 70 rescuers are being used to help in the search operation, which is due to continue after dawn on Friday.

Lunar eclipse

State fire spokesman Lt Clovis Araujo said a nearby floating police station and a number of small boats had rescued 92 people from the ferry, the Almirante Monteiro.

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There were no reports of damage or casualties aboard the heavy goods barge, he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

The confirmed dead, he added, were a woman and two children.

Nearly all the survivors appeared to be passengers sleeping in hammocks on the ferry's deck, said Aguinaldo Rodrigues , a state public safety department spokesman.

While it was too early to establish the cause of the collision, he added, visibility had been "very poor" during the lunar eclipse which began on Wednesday night.

The collision happened on an isolated stretch of the river.

The ferry had a capacity of 165 passengers but was not full at the time of the accident.

An inquiry will now be launched to try to establish the cause of the collision and an initial report is expected within 90 days.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Amazon ferry sinks after barge collision



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