A series of explosions rocked the navy’s main arms depot on a small island about 200 yards offshore late Sunday, injuring at least 20 people and leaving dozens missing and feared dead.
Navy officials estimated that as many as 100 people could have been at the depot at the time of the explosion, the CBN radio network reported. TV Globo, quoting the Navy Ministry, reported that up 40 people could have been killed.
Thirty-seven homes on Boqueirao Island, the site of the explosion, also were destroyed, TV Globo said.
Firefighters and navy rescue personnel were at the scene, while private boaters were prevented from approaching too close to the island because of fire.
Live television footage showed flames destroying the last vestiges of the 720,000-square-yard depot, almost five hours after the first explosion.