At least 20 people went missing after a collapsing cliffside in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais crushed three tourist boats on the river below, killing five people and injuring others. The navy is investigating the tragedy.
The rockslide occurred at around midday on Saturday, in a canyon along Furnas Lake near the city of Capitolo, Minas Gerais. Disturbing videos showed a shower of smaller rocks falling from the cliff, before an enormous sheet of rock separated from the cliff face and collapsed directly onto several boatloads of tourists in the water below.
WARNING: DISTURBING FOOTAGE
Footage shot from a nearby vessel showed its passengers desperately trying to warn boats closer to the cliff for nearly a minute before the final collapse.
Five people were killed in the collapse and nine more were seriously injured, according to the local emergency officials speaking to media. Some 23 others got away with light injuries and were later discharged from hospital.
The Brazilian Navy has deployed search and rescue teams to the scene, and is now investigating the cause of the rockslide. In a statement, Minas Gerais Governor Romeu Zema blamed “heavy rains, which caused the loosening of a wall of rocks.”
“The rescue work is still in progress,” Zema stated, adding: “I stand in solidarity with the families at this difficult time.”
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