World

Dramatic video captures cliff collapsing on tourist boats, killing 10 in Brazil

Ten people have died when a cliff on tourist boats in a lake in Brazil collapsed, officials said Sunday, after the bodies of two missing people were found. On Saturday, a large piece of rock broke free from a ravine and fell onto four boats in Lake Furnas in the eastern state of Minas Gerais, while terrified tourists watched helplessly on other ships.

Dramatic videos shared on social networks captured the moment the cliff collapsed.

Civil Police Commissioner Marcos de Sousa Pimenta told reporters that rescuers found the bodies of the two remaining missing people on Sunday.

Authorities said more than 30 people were injured, including nine who were taken to hospital.

Canyon rock face collapsed on tourists in Brazil waterfall
Firefighters in Minas Gerais search for crumbs after a rock wall collapses on top of motor boats below a waterfall in Capitolio, Minas Gerais state, Brazil, January 8, 2022.

Fire Brigade from Minas Gerais via Getty


Saturday’s death toll was originally seven, with three missing.

Rescuers said the 10 who died were part of a group of family and friends on the boat that suffered the biggest impact from the falling rocks.

Preliminary investigations showed that all the victims were Brazilians, aged between 14 and 68.

Tourists flock to view the cliffs, caves, and waterfalls that surround the green waters of Lake Furnas, formed by the hydroelectric dam of the same name.

One of the video clips, which was circulated on social media, showed the minute before the accident, in which several people warned of “a lot of stones falling” as they shouted at the passengers of other boats to get away from the rock.

President Jair Bolsonaro Retweet some of these videos On his account, he said that “immediately after the unfortunate disaster, the Brazilian Navy moved to the site to rescue the victims and transport the wounded.”

in a statmentBolsonaro said officials would “investigate the causes and circumstances” of the fatal accident.

A diving squad had to stop their search overnight for safety reasons, but other rescuers continued to operate. Divers resumed the search on Sunday.

Very heavy rain has fallen in recent days in southeastern Brazil, which could lead to the avalanche, according to firefighters. Reuters reported that a dam flooded on Saturday in an iron ore mine, 300 km to the east.

The cliff wall is subject to centuries of erosion and prone to rain, heat and cold, Tiago Antonelli, head of the applied geology department of the Brazilian Geological Service, told the Associated Press.

“It is normal that it happens in many valleys, even with rocks of this size. But nowadays, with the intensification of tourism, people are starting to approach these places and record these phenomena with their mobile phones,” Antonelli said.

Geographer Eduardo Bolhos of the Federal University of Fluminense told AFP that rockfall in the region, where natural erosion is constantly occurring, is most likely to occur during the rainy months in December and January.

He said that to avoid accidents in the future, it would be advisable to keep tourists away from the slopes during the rainy season.

Collapse of a canyon wall in southeastern Brazil
Vanessa Oliveira Ferreira, 33, mother of a 14-year-old child, waits at the Institute of Legal Medicine (IML) to release bodies for continued burial after a giant boulder collapse that fell on top of a boat in Lake Furnas in Capitolio, Jan. 9, 2022, in Passos, Brazil .

Stringer Agency / Anadolu via Getty Images


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