AFP - A private airplane with 26 people aboard crashed late Saturday into a river in Brazil, leaving six people dead, four survivors and the rest missing, a local fire department spokesman told AFP.
The craft, an Embraer Bandeirante flown by Manaus Aerotaxi, was carrying two crew members and 24 passengers, among them seven children, the spokesman said.
The plane had departed from the city of Coari en route to the inland Amazon basin's largest city Manaus.
But due to bad weather, the plane was forced to make an emergency landing in the River Manacapuru, a tributary of the Amazon, between Santo Antonio and the island of Montecristo, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Manaus.
"A total of 38 men, including nine divers, are working with the help of boats to find the missing in the area," said the spokesman for the Manaus firefighters. Civil defense troops were also involved in the search.
"Rescue efforts will continue throughout the night," he added. As for the causes of the accident, "they may have had problems because they wanted to make an emergency landing on the Manacapuru runway but ended up falling into a river nearby."
According to a preliminary hypothesis by areonautical authorities, the plane's engines may have malfunctioned.
Brazilian media reported that a nine-year-old boy was among the survivors.
Most of the flight's passengers are still missing, and the rescue task was complicated by heavy rain and darkness in the crash area.