Brazilian football legend Pele joined calls for authorities in intensifying their search for a British journalist missing from one of the most remote corners of Amazon. Helicopters were deployed to locate him, as well as an indigenous expert.
Others, such as Everton striker Richarlison from Brazil and Walter Casagrande Junior, a former Brazilian international, have also called on authorities to intensify their efforts to locate the pair.
Dom Phillips (57), a freelance writer who wrote about Brazil for The Guardian and The Washington Post, The New York Times, and other publications, was reported missing by Bruno Araujo Pereira. Bruno Araujo Pereira was his guide, an ex-government official whose job it was to protect Brazil’s uncontacted tribes.
They were last seen in Javari Valley, Amazonas state, near the border with Peru. Javari is home to some of the most remote indigenous communities in the world.
Pele, 81 years old, posted on Twitter that he was moved by their disappearance.
The three-time World Cup winner stated, “The fight to preserve the Amazon Forest is our collective duty… Dom Phillips (and Bruno Pereira) dedicate their lives to this cause.”
“I am joining the many voices that call for intensification of the search to find them as quickly as possible.
Pele also shared a video with Alessandra Sampaio of Phillips’ wife, sharing an emotional appeal for more action.
This comes amid plans to hold a vigil in central London on Wednesday.
Around 8 a.m., well-wishers will gather at the Brazilian Embassy with large photographs of Mr Phillips or Mr Pereira.
Both the Brazilian navy and army sent search teams in helicopters and boats to try and find the pair. Federal and state police officers are supporting them.
Guilherme Torres (head of the interior department in Amazonas state’s civil cops) stated earlier this week that it was impossible to rule out that the disappearances were linked to the gangs operating within the lawless area.
According to The Guardian Mr Pereira was threatened by miners and loggers in the area.
Brazilian police arrested Amarildo da Silva de Oliveira (also known as Pelado) on Wednesday for carrying a firearm with no permit. This is a common practice throughout the country.
Although police did not say why he was being considered a suspect, it is believed that he was among the men who threatened the pair on Saturday near an indigenous territory.
At least four witnesses were interviewed by officers who believed they were among the last to see Mr Phillips or Mr Pereira.
Sky News spoke to Phillips’ sister: “I am very anxious. It’s my worst fear. It is your worst fear.
Sean Phillips said: “We need all the help we can get.” We ask that the UK put pressure on Brazil to take action.