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Brazil ignored pleas, say rescue officials

Canadian search-and-rescue officials contend their counterparts inBrazil ignored their repeated pleas to look for a Lunenburg-based tallship that sank off South America last winter.

Canadian search-and-rescue officials contend their counterparts in Brazil ignored their repeated pleas to look for a Lunenburg-based tall ship that sank off South America last winter.

The Concordia was carrying 64 students and staff from a sailing school in Lunenburg went it went down Feb. 17.

Everyone got off the vessel safely but spent the next 41 hours in a life-raft before they were picked up by a commercial vessel.

Documents obtained by the CBC show officials at the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax believed the students and crew could have been rescued much earlier had Brazilian authorities responded sooner.

An incident log from the centre states that Brazilian authorities didn't notify Canada about the emergency until 16 hours after receiving the first distress signal from Concordia. The log also states that almost 23 hours after the signal, Brazilian search and rescue said it considered it “a false alert,” prompting Halifax to ask when they would consider it a distress situation.

 
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