At least eight dead, two missing in Brazil cliff collapse
January 10 2022 12:27 AM
Rock fall
This handout picture released by Minas Gerais Fire Department shows firefighters during a rescue operation after a wall of rock broke from a cliff and fell onto several tourist boats, leaving at least eight people dead, at the canyons of Furnas Lake of Capitolio city, in Brazil’s Minas Gerais state.

Reuters/AFP/Brasilia/Rio de Janeiro

At least eight died and two others remained missing when a wall of rock collapsed on top of motor boats below a waterfall in southeastern Brazil on Saturday, the fire department said.
A tower of rocks suddenly broke away from the canyon wall and came crashing down on several leisure boats, sending out a huge wave over the lake at Capitolio, in Minas Gerais state.
The latest body was found submerged under water, rescue official Rodrigo Castro said.
“We have eight confirmed dead and we still need to find two missing victims,” he said.
Videos posted on social media showed tourists shouting as the column of rock crashed into the water, smashing two boats.
One, shared on social media, showed the minute before the incident, with several people warning that “lots of stones are falling” and yelling at the occupants of other boats to move away from the rock face.
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”.
More than 30 people were injured, including nine who had to be hospitalised, authorities said.
Those people hurt in the accident had broken bones and one was in serious condition in hospital with head and facial injuries.
The region has been under heavy rainfall for two weeks, which could have loosened the rock face.
Tourists flock to see the cliffs, caverns and waterfalls that surround the green waters of Lake Furnas, formed by the hydroelectric dam of the same name.
Geographer Eduardo Bulhoes of the Fluminense Federal University told AFP that rock falls in the area, where natural erosion is continually taking place, were more likely to occur during the rainy months of December and January.
To avoid future accidents, he said, it would be advisable to keep tourists further away from the cliffs during the season.
On Saturday, a dyke overflowed at an iron ore mine 300km to the east, cutting off a major federal highway.



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