An Amazon cruise ship has exploded in Peru, with up to seven people reported missing following the blast, feared to have been trapped in the boat. The Aqua Amazon tourist boat was at Enapu port in Iquitos, where it was being loaded with fuel and supplies ahead of its next cruise, when an explosion blew a hole in the ship and it began to sink.
Several crew members were forced to jump into the water to avoid the flames and were pulled from the river by onlookers, while some suffered burns and other injuries in the explosion.
In a statement, Aqua Expeditions founder and CEO Francesco Galli Zugaro said: "During the regular Saturday supplying and turnaround hours for restocking of the vessel, an accident occurred that caused an explosion and resulted in the sinking of the ship. The investigation is ongoing and more information will be shared as it becomes available.
"No passengers were on board but some of the crew have been hurt and up to four are declared missing. All efforts are being made to get a better understanding of the status of the missing crew.
"The entire operations team is on the ground providing logistical support with local emergency services."
Peruvian newspaper El Comercio reported some members of staff were presumed to have been trapped in the ship as it sunk on Saturday (16 July 2016), with emergency services forced to suspend their rescue at nightfall because they did not have the right equipment to continue.
The company has redirected passengers booked onto the Aqua Amazon on to other vessels and is continuing the search for missing crew members, with between four and seven people believed to be unaccounted for.