Search for missing persons resumed after rock collapse on boats with tourists in Brazil

In dramatic videos shared on social networks you can see the exact moment when the large rock detaches itself and falls on the boats.

Photo: Nataliya Vaitkevich / Pexels

Lifeguards resumed this Sunday the search for two missing persons after the detachment of a huge rock in a lake in the interior of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, which left at least eight tourists dead.

“Our search team located another body, which was submerged,” said Rodrigo Castro, a member of the Minas Gerais Fire Department. “At this moment we have eight confirmed deaths and we need to locate two victims who remain missing,” he added.

At noon on Saturday, a large rock fragment detached from a ravine and fell, perpendicular, on top of four boats that were strolling through the lake, a tourist region of Minas Gerais.

In dramatic videos shared on social networks, you can see the exact moment when the massif detaches itself and falls on the boats, to the panic of those who witness the scene from the other boats.

Another of the records shows the minute before the collapse, in which several people warned that “many stones are falling” and yelled at the occupants of the other boats to move away from the wall.

The dead and missing traveled in the boat that suffered the greatest impact under the rock, according to firefighters. More than 30 people were injured, nine of whom needed to be hospitalized.

The causes of the collapse are still being investigated, but the heavy rains that have fallen in recent days in southeastern Brazil favored the landslide, according to firefighters.

10 years ago the risk of collapse had been warned

The Capitolio region, 300 km from the capital Belo Horizonte, attracts many Brazilian tourists with its rock walls and waterfalls that surround the green waters of Lake Furnas, formed by the hydroelectric dam with the same name.

“The peculiar nature of that place, all the tourist attraction that the landscape provides, with the reservoir that forms the lake, the waterfalls and waterfalls, is created by the erosion of the relief, a natural and constant process”, explained the geographer Eduardo Bulhoes, from the Fluminense Federal University (UFF).

Added to this natural erosion are intense rains, which make landslides like the one that occurred on Saturday, called “mass movements”, more likely.

“December and January are the months with the most rain in Capitolio and consequently the months with the greatest potential for mass movements,” said Bulhoes. To avoid further accidents, it would be advisable to “limit the recreational area and move walks away from the walls and waterfalls” in the season of greatest risk, concluded the specialist.

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