UK

British Woman Vanishes On Amazon River River Notorious For Pirate Attacks

It's also a famous drug trafficking route.

19/09/2017 12:34 BST | Updated 19/09/2017 14:53 BST

A British adventurer has disappeared during a solo kayak through the Amazon – shortly after sending a distress signal.

Emma Kelty, who last year skied the South Pole, was 42 days into a 4,000m trip across South America.

The former head-teacher from Finchley had earlier tweeted of her fears she would be robbed or killed during her journey on the Solimoes River in the northern jungle state of Amazonas.

Facebook
Emma Kelty has not been heard from since 13 September 

Brazilian navy patrol boats and helicopters are searching for the 43-year-old, who was between the cities of Codajas and Coari when she activated her emergency locator on 13 September. The stretch is notorious as a drug trafficking route and for pirate attacks.

Her canoe, clothes and shoes have been recovered.

The Special Homicide and Kidnap Squad is also in the area to investigate local reports she may have been attacked by pirates.

Days before her disappearance, Kelty, who is from Finchley joked on Twitter that there were a “lot of folks in one area in boats with arrows and rifles.”

She had earlier posted: “So in or near Coari (100km away) I will have my boat stolen and I will be killed too. Nice.”

A police officer close to the investigation told Brazilian daily Globo the place where she was last seen was the same spot where a police chief disappeared last year. Thiago Garcez is believed to have been murdered by drug dealers – though his body was never found.

In her last blog post dated 9 August, Kelty was in Peru when she wrote: “The world is huge and so much more to explore, I wish that others would join me in this way of life. 

“The road (or river) ahead may have potential difficulties (I hope not) and so I reflect whilst on my couple of days rest... Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today.”