SAO PAULO, Brazil – A ferryboat wreck on the Amazon River killed at least 14 people, Brazilian officials said Friday, as crews searched for several more people reported missing and feared dead.
The Almirante Monteiro, a two-story wooden ferry carrying more than 100 people, sank on Thursday after colliding with a barge loaded with fuel tanks near the isolated town of Itacoatiara in the jungle state of Amazonas.
Ninety-two people were rescued by several small boats and the state's floating police station, a 32-foot vessel that travels up and down the river and was in the area at the time of the shipwreck.
After recovering 11 bodies, rescue teams suspended their search of the murky Amazon waters at night. Three more bodies were found Friday, Amazonas state fire spokesman Lt. Clovis Araujo said.
The dead include eight children, four women and two men.
Araujo said the ferry company gave officials the names of 105 people aboard, including 12 crew members, but survivors said several more were missing who were not on the list.
"The truth is we really don't have an exact idea of how many people were on the boat," Araujo said by telephone from Manaus, the state capital. "Ferryboats in the Amazon are like city buses that pick up and drop off passengers along the route."
Officials say many of the victims were asleep in cabins inside the vessel and were unable to get out before it sank, while passengers in hammocks on the deck fared better.
"I was sleeping in my hammock when I was woken up by a lot screaming," Ruberval Almeida Lemos told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper. "The boat had already started to sink, and I didn't have time to grab a life vest."
He said he grabbed a piece of wood and threw himself into the water.