The commander of the Minas Gerais Fire Department, Edgard Estevo, reported at a press conference that 32 other people were injured, although 23 of them suffered only minor injuries and have already been medically discharged. The accident occurred around 11:00 local time (14:00 GMT) on Lake Furnas, a tourist spot in the municipality of Capitólio (southeast), when a large stone block fell from a height of five meters on three boats, two of which were completely buried. A video circulating on social networks and whose authenticity was confirmed to Efe by firefighters shows the moment when the huge rock detaches from the canyon wall and rushes over the group of boats that were in the lake. In another video moments before the accident, the affected boats are seen trying to move away from the canyon wall, between the warnings and the screams of the people who were in the surrounding boats.” So far five deaths have been confirmed and we are working with the possibility of 20 missing people at this time. We are collecting information to certify that these people were at the scene” of the accident, Estevo told reporters. Firefighters, who will continue searches into the night for safety reasons, suspect that heavy rainfall in recent days has put pressure on the canyon walls, which may have triggered the slide. The spokesman of the Fire Department of Minas Gerais, Pedro Aihara, explained in statements to the channel ‘GloboNews’ that this region of canyons is formed by sedimentary rocks “more susceptible to the actions of the wind and rains” and, therefore, “present a lower resistance”. We are in a rather rainy period, which has been able to accelerate the penetration of water into the rocky structure,” he said. For its part, the Brazilian Navy reported in a note that it opened an investigation to clarify the causes and circumstances of the accident. The governor of Minas Gerais, Romeu Zema, regretted what happened on his social networks and affirmed that the rescue work continues.” I stand in solidarity with the families at this difficult time. We will continue to act to provide the necessary support and protection,” he said. The town of Capitólio, located about 280 kilometers from Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais (southeast), is a tourist destination throughout the year for its impressive gorges that can be visited by boat rides. In another point of Minas Gerais, heavy rains also caused this Saturday the overflow of a dam of the French steel company Vallourec that forced to cut the highway that connects Belo Horizonte with Rio de Janeiro, without any fatalities.
[VIDEO] Impressive detachment of a rock face leaves five dead and 20 missing in Brazil
January 8, 2022 |