9 inmates dead, 19 on the run in Brazil after prison break

SAO PAULO (AP) - Authorities in Brazil say nine prisoners have been killed and 19 are on the run after fleeing into a wooded area near a prison in the northern state of Tocantins.

The state's Public Security Department said Wednesday that 28 inmates fled the Barra da Grota prison amid a riot that broke out on Tuesday.

Nine of them were killed in a subsequent shootout with police officers who tracked them down in the woods.

Police are scouring the area for the missing 19 prisoners and two prison staff members who were taken hostage.

Jail and prison breaks are frequent in Brazil's overcrowded penitentiary system.

The Barra da Grota prison was built to hold 480 inmates and had a prison population of 493 before the escape.