At least five people were killed and at least 20 were missing when a large rock wall in the valley collapsed Saturday on tourist boats on a lake in the state of Minas Gerais, which has been hit by recent heavy rains in Brazil.
Minas Gerais fire chief Edgard Estevo told a news conference that 32 more people had been injured, although 23 of them sustained minor injuries and had already been discharged.
At 11.00 GMT (14.00 GMT) local time, a large boulder fell on three boats, two of which were completely submerged, in Furnace Lake, a tourist destination in the municipality of Capitolio (southeast). Buried.
The video, which has been circulating on social media and its authenticity confirmed to EFE by firefighters, shows the moment when a large rock breaks through a valley wall and falls on a group of boats on the lake.
Minutes before the accident, in another video, the affected boats could be seen trying to get out of the valley wall, amid warnings and shouts from those around the boats.
“So far, five deaths have been confirmed and we are working with the possibility of 20 missing persons at this time. We are gathering information to confirm that these individuals were on the scene of the accident,” Estevo told reporters.
Hurry !!! Stones loosened from a valley in the Capitolio in Minas and struck three boats. pic.twitter.com/784wN6HbFy
– Time (@ Time) January 8, 2022
Tragedy in Brazil
Firefighters, who will continue their search until the evening for safety reasons, suspect that heavy rains in recent days may have put pressure on the valley walls and caused a landslide.
Spokesman for Fire Brigade Minas Gerais, Pedro Aihara, in a report to the GloboNews channel explained that this part of the valley is made up of sedimentary rocks that are “very susceptible to the action of wind and rain” and, therefore, “less resistant”.
“We are in a very rainy season, which was able to accelerate the infiltration of water into the rock system,” he said.
For its part, the Brazilian Navy announced in a statement that it was opening an investigation to clarify the causes and circumstances of the accident.
Governor of Minas Gerais, Romeo Gemma, Regretted what had happened on his social networks and confirmed that the rescue work was continuing.
“I offer my condolences to the families of the victims. We will continue to provide the support and protection we need.”
Situated about 280 km from Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais (southeast), Capitolio is a year-round tourist destination due to its impressive canyons that can be visited by boat.
Elsewhere in Minas Gerais, heavy rains flooded a dam in French steelmaker Vallourec on Saturday, forcing the highway connecting Belo Horizonte to Rio de Janeiro to be cut off without any casualties.
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