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Boat full of decomposing corpses spotted by fishermen off Brazil coast

Bogota, Colombia — A small boat full of decomposing corpses was spotted by fishermen off Brazil's northeastern coast on Saturday, according to local news reports. Brazil's Attorney General's office said in a statement that it had dispatched a forensics team to the area to determine where the bodies and the boat came from.

"Some reports say there could be up to 20 corpses" in the boat, the Attorney General's office said in a statement. The office announced it was opening a criminal and a civil investigation into the incident.

The boat was floating off the coast of the state of Para in a remote location about 185 miles from the state capital Belem.

It wasn't the first time that vessels carrying dead bodies were spotted by fishermen in the western side of the Atlantic Ocean. In 2021, at least seven boats full of corpses washed up in Brazil and the Eastern Caribbean.

Migration Global Deaths
Boots are placed on the ground by police officers as they inspect a boat in which 15 Malians were found dead and adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, in an Aug. 20, 2020 file photo taken on Gran Canaria island, Spain. Emilio Morenatti/AP

Investigations by The Associated Press and local authorities determined that some of these boats carried the corpses of African migrants who were trying to make it to the Canary Islands, but had missed their target and had drifted for weeks in the Atlantic Ocean.

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