A boat ferrying passengers and cargo through the Peruvian jungle capsized on a remote river, killing 15 people and leaving 20 missing, officials said Friday.

"The tragedy happened when the motorboat Santa Elena capsized in the river, killing 15," Alfonso Cardenas, communications chief of the northeastern town of Requena, told The Associated Press by telephone.

Seven people survived and rescue teams are searching for 20 believed to be missing, Cardenas said.

The vessel left Requena on Thursday night bound for the town of Santa Elena, but sank along an isolated 90-mile (150 kilometer) stretch of the Tapiche River in Loreto Province.