A group of boaters was crushed to death last week when the side of a cliff collapsed onto them while they were on a lake in Brazil.
The towering slab of rock broke off from Lago de Furnas canyon wall at Lake Furnas, leaving at least seven dead with 3 missing and approximately 30 injured.
The incident happened after the area had been pounded by rainstorms, which local officials said made the cliffs more susceptible to collapsing.
URGENTE!!! Pedras se soltam de cânion em Capitólio, em Minas, e atingem três lanchas. pic.twitter.com/784wN6HbFy
— O Tempo (@otempo) January 8, 2022
“We are suffering the pain of a tragedy in our state due to heavy rains, which caused the loosening of a wall of stones in Lake Furnas, in Capitolio,” Minas Gerais Gov. Romeu Zema said on social media. “I stand in solidarity with the families at this difficult time.”
“About 40 divers and firefighters were deployed, Col. Edgard Estevo, commander of the Minas Gerais fire department, said during a news conference Saturday,” The Washington Post reported. “The search for missing people would continue through the night, he said, but divers would stop after dusk and resume early Sunday.”
Pedro Aihara, a spokesperson for the Minas Gerais fire department, told The Washington Post that it was “just the saddest thing in the world to imagine.”
“To think that these people of all ages, even children, were having fun and enjoying that beautiful lake before an unimaginable tragedy struck,” he added.
“Furnas Lake was created in 1958 as part of a hydroelectric plant,” USA Today reported. “It’s a popular tourist area, and Capitolio, which has about 8,400 residents, can draw 5,000 visitors on a normal weekend and up to 30,000 on holidays.”
Rovilson Teixeira, who works in the area, told local media, “We are all stunned, nobody knows how many victims, but I can already tell you that there were not one or two deaths, but many deaths.”
“There are a lot of hurt people,” Teixeira said. “The region is full of ambulances that have come from other areas to pick up the victims, but no one yet realizes the scale of the tragedy here.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.
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