Tuesday 24 April 2018

'Bucket list' teacher travelling Amazon 'killed by armed pirates' - just days after sharing her fears online

Adventurer Emma Kelty, 43, from London, was last heard from on Wednesday September 13
Adventurer Emma Kelty, 43, from London, was last heard from on Wednesday September 13

David Wilcock and Thomas Hornall

A British woman who disappeared during a solo kayaking expedition in the Brazilian Amazon posted about her fears online just days before it is understood she was murdered by armed pirates.

Adventurer Emma Kelty, 43, from London, was last heard from on Wednesday September 13, days after posting about her fears of being robbed or murdered.

The former headteacher's last known location was around 150 miles west of the jungle city of Manaus, between the towns of Coari and Codajas.

Brazilian police are now reporting Ms Kelty was shot and killed by robbers - known locally as ‘water rats’ - who then dumped her body in the river. They have since arrested a 17-year-old boy in connection with her murder.

A Foreign office spokesman said on Tuesday: "We are supporting the family of a British woman following her death in Brazil and are in contact with the Brazilian authorities."

Ms Kelty was 42 days into a 4,000-mile trip from the Amazon's source in Peru, through Brazil and to its mouth on the Atlantic Ocean, using a GPS tool, social media and blogging to let friends follow her progress.

The previous day she had tweeted about passing boats full of men with arrows and rifles, and the stretch of river she was attempting to travel is a known route for bandits and drug traffickers, local reports say.

Some of her belongings, including the kayak, were found by the Brazilian navy on Friday, police chief Ivo Martins told Brazilian media.

Olie Hunter Smart, an explorer who completed a similar route in 2015, said Coari was an area known for its danger.

He had met Ms Kelty before her trip to help her plan for the journey.

Mr Smart, who is currently walking the length of India, said: "The Emma that I met was an incredibly brave and courageous person who lived life to the full.

"My thoughts go out to her close friends and family at this very sad time."

In a posting before the journey, Ms Kelty wrote that the adventure had four parts, and the third was "getting through the notorious drug baron and organ harvesting folks".

The self-confessed adrenaline junkie had only begun serious kayaking earlier this year - just weeks after skiing a return solo journey to the South Pole.

Last year police chief Thiago Garcez, whose body has never been found, was said to have been murdered by drug-runners in the same area.

Press Association

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