Search for missing journalist in Brazil nearing the end, indigenous group says

i24NEWS - Reuters

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Members of the Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley looking for clues that lead to the whereabouts of Dom Phillips and  Bruno Pereira, on the banks of the Itaguaí river in Vale do Javari, state of Amazonas, Brazil, on June 13, 2022.
Joao LAET / AFPMembers of the Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley looking for clues that lead to the whereabouts of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, on the banks of the Itaguaí river in Vale do Javari, state of Amazonas, Brazil, on June 13, 2022.

Phillips and Pereira went missing more than a week ago

The search for missing British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira in Brazil's Amazon rainforest was nearing the end on Tuesday as the area left to search kept shrinking, a spokesman for indigenous group Univaja said.

Phillips and Pereira went missing more than a week ago on a remote stretch of the Itacoai River in far western Brazil, near the border with Colombia and Peru.

Eliesio Marubo, a lawyer for Univaja, said that indigenous searchers tipped off the authorities after discovering traces of the men in the area, helping to focus the search.

"We understand that we are heading toward the end. The search area has been further reduced," Marubo said late on Monday, according to Reuters

JOAO LAET / AFP
JOAO LAET / AFPA Federal Police experts examine a boat seized by the Task Force for the rescue of Bruno Pereira and journalist Dom Phillips at the port of the city of Atalaia do Norte, Amazonas, Brazil, on June 11, 2022.

Police on Sunday said searchers had found belongings of the two men in a creek off the river near where they were last seen on June 5.

A Reuters witness on Tuesday observed that authorities had opened a more extensive channel in the brush leading to the creek where the belongings were found, allowing for bigger boats to gain access to expand the search.

In a letter to the Phillips family, reviewed by Reuters, the Brazilian ambassador in London apologized on Tuesday for passing on incorrect information that bodies had been discovered.

Information received from investigating officials in Brazil misled the embassy, ambassador Fred Arruda wrote, adding, "I wholeheartedly apologize."

Brazilian federal police said they expect to conclude this week the forensic analysis of a blood sample collected from the boat of a man suspected of a possible role in the case.

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