Cliff collapses on boaters in Brazil, killing 10 people

RIO DE JANEIRO – Ten people were killed in southeastern Brazil when the face of a massive cliff collapsed at a popular tourist spot, a...

RIO DE JANEIRO – Ten people were killed in southeastern Brazil when the face of a massive cliff collapsed at a popular tourist spot, authorities said on Sunday.

Boaters who narrowly escaped the crash captured videos of giant slab falling in Furnas Lake on Saturday in the state of Minas Gerais. The rock peeled off around 12:30 p.m. after days of intense rain in the area.

Video showed panicked boaters who could see rocks tumbling into the lake urging others, “Go! But their calls seemed to be drowned out by the sound of the waterfall and the music of the boats.

Another video recorded the moment the cliff collapsed, destroying two small boats.

Ten people were killed and no one is still missing on Sunday afternoon, said Marcos Pimenta of the Minas Gerais Civil Police.

“Today we are suffering the tragedy of a loss in our state which resulted from heavy rains,” Romeu Zema, state governor, said in a statement.

Michel Leite Neves, a 31 year old Brazilian tourist who was on a boat in the lake when the cliff collapsed, told G1 media outlet that he alerted the boat’s captain to the falling rocks. At first, the boat’s driver said the phenomenon was normal, but as the rockfall escalated, he blew up the engine a few seconds early, Leite said.

“He turned around because he said it was better for us to get out of there,” Mr. Leite said. “But by then the cliff was already falling.”

Furnas Lake, which is near the town of Capitólio, is one of a group of scenic destinations popular with tourists during the summer in Minas Gerais. Visitors take boats to observe the waterfalls that flow into the emerald-colored water.

Lt. Pedro Aihara, spokesman for the Minas Gerais fire department, said at least 24 people survived aboard the two boats which were directly affected. The search ended on Sunday with all victims and survivors.

Authorities said two people were still in hospital, while at least 27 people were treated for minor injuries. As of Sunday afternoon, local authorities had identified only one of the deceased boaters: Julio Borges Antunes, 68, a retiree from Minas Gerais.

Videos of the scene went viral in Brazil, where heavy rains and flooding in recent weeks have left at least 20 more dead and damaged thousands of homes.

The Brazilian navy sent a team to assist rescuers in Minas Gerais and said it would open an investigation to establish the causes of the collapse.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Cliff collapses on boaters in Brazil, killing 10 people
Cliff collapses on boaters in Brazil, killing 10 people
Newsrust - US Top News
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