Seven missing after Argentine cargo ship crash

Posted at 05/13/2012 12:25 PM

BUENOS AIRES - Seven people were missing Saturday after an Argentine cargo ship and a Paraguayan tug boat collided on the Parana River near the northeastern city of Zarate in Argentina, police said.

"We will continue searching for the seven who went missing overnight because the weather conditions allow it," said Sergio Gaetan, who is heading the search and rescue operation.

The missing are all from the Argentine boat, which capsized and sank after the crash.

The collision occurred at 4:00 am (0700 GMT) at the 102-kilometer (63-mile) mark of the Parana River, which runs through Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. After they were alerted of the crash, divers rescued a crewmember from the Argentine vessel who was slightly injured.

Gatean said police have arrested three of the commanders of the Paraguayan ship, out of a total of twelve crew members, while the tug boat will be "subject to judicial inspection."

"The time factor and the conditions of the crash jeopardize chances that the missing will survive, but we are not losing hope," said police chief Carlos Rios.

He said 16 divers are searching for the missing, but that all of the ship's compartments were flooded. The search also involves nine coast guard ships and a helicopter.

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