Latin America & Caribbean

Paraguay-Brazil boat accident: Eight bodies retrieved

Onlookers follow River Paraguay rescue work, 25 Sep 14 Image copyright AP
Image caption Residents have followed every step of the rescue effort since the boat capsized on Wednesday

Brazilian and Paraguayan rescue teams have now retrieved eight bodies from the River Paraguay, where a boat capsized during a storm on Wednesday.

The Paraguayan vessel, Dream of the Pantanal, was carrying 11 Paraguayan crew and 16 Brazilian tourists.

Thirteen people had managed to swim ashore. Six are still missing and presumed dead.

The tourists had been on a fishing expedition to the Pantanal, one of the world's largest freshwater wetlands

The Pantanal, an area of amazing biodiversity, stretches across parts of Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia and is popular with eco-tourists.

Many of the victims were friends who came from the same town in Brazil's southern Parana state.

Image copyright AFP/Marinha do Brasil
Image caption The authorities say the boat sank because of unusually strong winds for the region
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The tourist barge that sank was similar to this one, the Bonanca

They had rented the boat and had spent 10 days together, fishing in the Pantanal area.

The boat capsized less than 48 hours before the planned end of the excursion.

The Dream of the Pantanal was caught up in a heavy storm on Wednesday afternoon.

It sank between the towns of Carmelo Peralta in northern Paraguay and Porto Murtinho, in Brazil's Mato Grosso do Sul state.

Paraguayan and Brazilian Navy divers have been working together to locate the bodies.

"We found two more bodies today (Friday). We believe the other bodies are trapped inside the capsized vessel," Paraguayan official Amilcar Vera told the local Cardinal radio station.

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