Collision of two river boats in Peru’s Amazon leaves at least 20 dead, several missing

A collision of two river boats in the Amazon in Peru has left at least 20 passengers dead and dozens missing, a government statement said.

The accident took place at 05:30 local time on the Huallaga River, in Muyuna on Sunday, when a boat full of passengers crashed into a freight barge amid dense mist at dawn, state television TV Peru reported.

The crash caused the wooden passenger boat, the Ayachi, to capsize.

Firefighters, policemen and sailors are in charge of the search for those who disappeared.

Local television footage showed survivors crying on the riverbank as authorities carried some bodies away.

Entire families were travelling in the damaged boat, including about 20 children, according to the survivors.

The passengers belonged to a religious community that was returning to the city of Yurimaguas after participating in a vigil in a secluded hamlet in the jungle known as Santa Maria.