Death toll rises to 14 in Peruvian Amazon boat collision

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LIMA, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The number of people killed in Sunday's collision of two vessels in the Huallaga River in the northern Peruvian district of Yurimaguas has risen to 14, Defense Minister Walter Ayala confirmed on Monday.

Twelve bodies were found in the river on Sunday, and two more bodies were retrieved on Monday, the official told Canal N news channel.

The accident occurred at 4:20 a.m. local time Sunday in the Amazonian region of Loreto when a boat carrying about 80 people, including 20 children, from Santa Maria to Yurimaguas was hit near Zamora port by an oil cargo boat that was part of a convoy, causing the passenger boat to break in two and sink.

"There are still 14 people missing. At the moment an elite group of Navy personnel is in the Huallaga River searching," Ayala said.

The official added that the drivers of the vessels have been detained so that the Prosecutor's Office can take their statements and determine if there were any violations.

"A 30-passenger boat cannot be carrying 80 people ... those responsible must be identified because there have been quite a few oversights, violations and crimes," Ayala said.

According to a Peruvian Navy announcement, at least 60 people have been rescued so far, another 14 are missing and six passengers who were injured were taken to a local clinic for treatment. Enditem

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