Rescue teams, including a dive squad and members of the Brazilian Navy, headed to Lake Furnas in Minas Gerais state, where terrified tourists watched helplessly as a large chunk of rock dislodged from a ravine and fell on three boats.
The latest official figure is “seven dead and three missing,” Minas Gerais firefighter spokesman Pedro Aihara said Saturday night.
Another 32 were injured, including nine who had to be hospitalized, authorities said.
Firefighters had initially reported 20 missing people, but “that number dropped substantially because a good part of the missing victims were people who made their own way to hospitals,” Aihara said in a voice message sent to journalists.
Tourists flock to see the rocky walls, caverns, and waterfalls that surround the green waters of Lake Furnas, formed by the hydroelectric dam of the same name.
Dramatic videos shared on social media captured the exact moment the cliff fell on the three ships.
Another video uploaded to social networks shows the minute before the fall, in which several people warn that “many stones are falling” and shout 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 traveled to the scene to rescue the victims and transport the injured.”
The search for the divers will be interrupted overnight for safety reasons and will resume in the morning, but other rescuers continue to work at the site.
Very heavy rains have fallen in recent days in southeastern Brazil, making the collapse more likely, according to firefighters.
Source Credit: TheGuardian
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