Boat used by British journalist murdered in Amazon found sunk with sandbags

The boat used by murdered British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira to travel through the Amazon rainforest has been found, police have said as they continue to investigate the double killing.

The speedboat was submerged about 20 metres (65ft) deep under the Itacoai River in northern Brazil, weighed down with six sandbags.

Authorities said they were led to the site of the sunken vessel by the latest suspect in the killings, Jeferson da Silva Lima, or ‘Pelado da Dinha’, who surrendered himself to police on Saturday.

The latest find comes as police announced five new suspects they believe helped hide the pair’s bodies after they died.

Police did not name the new suspects, adding in a short statement that ongoing investigations aim to “clarify all the circumstances, motives and those involved in the case”.

The pair disappeared in one of the remotest corners of the rainforest just days after Mr Pereira received threats from loggers and miners in the region.

The two men were in the Sao Rafael community and were returning by boat to the nearby city of Atalaia do Norte, when they vanished.

More on Brazil

Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, a suspect in the Amazon killings case, seen on a boat in 2021
Image: Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, a suspect in the Amazon killings case, seen on a boat in 2021
Police officers escort Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, who is accused to be involved in the missing of British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, who went missing while reporting in a remote and lawless part of the Amazon rainforest, near the border with Peru, in Atalaia do Norte, Amazonas state, Brazil, June 15, 2022. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
Image: Police officers escort Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, who is accused to be involved

Their bodies were found 10 days later, with an autopsy suggesting they were killed by a “firearm with typical hunting ammunition”.

Three men have already been arrested.

Bruno Pereira disappeared in the Amazon with Dom Phillips on 5 June, 2022. Pic: BAND TV
Image: Bruno Pereira disappeared in the Amazon with Dom Phillips on 5 June. Pic: BAND TV

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Investigation points to ‘fish mafia’

Mr Phillips has reported on Brazil for more than 15 years for newspapers including The Guardian, the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Financial Times.

He had been researching a book about the Amazon and its environmental defenders.

The wild and lawless region has lured cocaine-smuggling gangs, along with illegal loggers, miners and hunters.

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