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Friday January 28, 2022

Several killed in Brazil cliff collapse

At least six people lost their lives after a cliff collapsed onto boats carrying tourists on a lake in Brazil with many still missing

By AFP
January 09, 2022
This is Furnas Lake where a cliff fell onto the tourist boats. File photo
This is Furnas Lake where a cliff fell onto the tourist boats. File photo

RIO DE JANEIRO: At least six people were killed and 20 others missing when a cliff collapsed onto boaters on a tourist lake in Brazil, authorities said Saturday.

"We do have six people confirmed as dead so far," Pedro Aihara, a spokesman for the Minas Gerias firefighters said in a statement.

Edgard Estevo da Silva, another fire department spokesman, said late Saturday that "the current estimate is 20 missing people", in addition to 32 who were injured.

At midday local time Saturday, a large rock fragment broke off a ravine and plunged atop three boats on weekend trips to Furnas Lake, a tourist area in the Capitolio region.

Tourists flock to see its rock walls, caverns and waterfalls that surround the green waters of Lake Furnas, formed by the hydroelectric dam of the same name.

In dramatic videos shared on social networks, you can see the exact moment when the cliff falls on the three boats, to the panic of the passengers who witness the scene from the other boats.

Another video post on social media shows the minute before the fall, in which several people warned that "lots of stones are falling" and yelled at the occupants of the other boats to move away from the wall.

President Jair Bolsonaro retweeted some of these videos on his account, and reported that "as soon as the unfortunate disaster occurred, the Brazilian Navy moved to the site to rescue victims and transport the injured."

Searches which have included divers will be interrupted overnight for security reasons and resumed in the morning.

Very heavy rain has fallen in recent days in southeastern Brazil making the collapse more likely, according to firefighters.