Brazilian journalists and Indigenous activists criticized the authorities’ search efforts late Monday, in part because it appeared that they had still not used a helicopter, which could be crucial in finding the men in such a vast and remote area. The army also initially said late Monday that it had not received authorization to dispatch a search team, before announcing it would do so just after 7:30 p.m. local time.
“A crucial day passed and the Brazilian authorities didn’t make any helicopters available to try to find Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips,” Eliane Brum, a prominent Brazilian journalist and author, said on Twitter.
The navy said it would use a helicopter in its search on Tuesday. A spokesman said that the army had only speedboats in the area and that it would take time to get a helicopter from roughly 700 miles away in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas.
Data from a satellite communication device showed that Mr. Phillips and Mr. Pereira had stopped along the Itaquaí River for a planned meeting at 6 a.m. Sunday, Univaja said. They were last seen on their boat downstream from that spot. They should have arrived in the small city of Atalaia do Norte at 8 a.m. but did not.
The area is a maze of waterways, and it can be easy to get lost there, though Univaja noted that Mr. Pereira “has profound knowledge of the region.” The men were traveling in a new boat with a 40-horsepower motor and 70 liters of gasoline, which was enough for the journey, Univaja said.
Mr. Phillips has lived in Brazil since 2007, reporting for a number of newspapers, including The New York Times, for which he wrote about two dozen stories in 2017. In recent years, he has been a regular contributor to The Guardian. Through the 1990s, he wrote and edited for Mixmag, a British magazine about electronic dance music, where he coined the term “progressive house” to describe a genre of music, according to the magazine.
In a second act of his career, Mr. Phillips fell in love with Brazil, and especially with reporting on isolated regions of the Amazon and the conflict there.