Officials have confirmed that 10 people are dead and dozens more are missing after a boat sank in the Xingu River in northern Brazil

Investigations are ongoing to find out why a passenger boat sank on a major river in northern Brazil, leaving at least 10 people dead and 41 missing.

The vessel was carrying 70 people along the Xingu River when it reportedly “cracked apart” and sank.

A baby and a 15-year-old are among the dead.

The public security office of the state of Para said that 19 people made it to shore.

Survivors said a large piece of a tarpaulin, which was being used by passengers to shelter from the rain, made it difficult for passengers to escape.

Many didn’t have lifejackets.

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The Brazilian G1 news portal has identified the boat as the M/B Captain Ribeiro.

It reports that the State Agency for Regulation and Control of Public Services (Arcon-Pa) in Brazil has announced that the company which owns the vessel was “not legalized to carry passengers.”

The sinking happened in a remote area of the Xingu River, making rescue efforts difficult.

Speaking to the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, Augusto Lima, from the Para firefighters’ service, said: “Searches are continuing above and below water”.

“It’s a hard-to-access area, and of the three aircraft we sent, one is there just to act as a communications base,” he added.

The newspaper reported that the boat left from Santarem on Monday and was heading to Vitoria do Xingu when it sank on Tuesday night (22 August).

It said two inquiries – one administrative and one criminal – will be carried out by the Navy and the Civil Police.