Death toll from two tourist boats rises to ten following freak crush

The collapse took place near a picturesque waterfall as tourist boats made their way through

The cliff that collapsed and killed at least ten people at a popular tourist spot in southeast Brazil has been on the verge of collapse for at least a decade, it emerged today.

A boating expert, who had been sailing those waters in 2012, posted a photo at the time showing a huge crack on the rock face of the canyon that has now collapsed with the caption ‘this rock is going to fall down’.

Divers were searching a Brazilian lake for victims Sunday after at least 10 people died and dozens were injured when a rock formation tore away from a cliff and slammed onto boats packed with tourists. The tragedy was caught on video.

Police Chief Marcos Pimenta said an unknown number of people were missing.

“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.”

Zema promised to provide “the necessary support” to families of the victims.

Flavio Freitas, a boating expert who had been sailing those waters in 2012, posted a photo at the time showing a huge crack on the rock face of the canyon that has now collapsed with the caption 'this rock is going to fall down'

Passengers can be heard screaming as the cliffside crashed directly on one of the boats, engulfing the other nearby ship and sending waves and debris flying to the other vessels touring the area. 

Rescuers recovered three more bodies from the lake on Sunday, raising the death toll to 10 in the disaster that injured more than 32 tourists. 

A survivor of the cliff collapse told how she saw some pebbles start to fall from the top of the canyon moments before the rockface fell. 

Andréia Mendonça recalled how holidaymakers were taking pictures at the waterfalls in southeast Brazil when part of the canyon collapsed. 

Mendonça had even told the driver of their boat that she could see some pebbles falling, but he said it ‘was nothing’.  

Mendonça, who watched on in horror from her speedboat, told Globo: ‘We stopped, took pictures and it was time for everyone to take their place and start to leave. 

The crash engulfed the two tourist ships and sent debris flying to the other nearby boats

‘I looked up at the rock and some pebbles were falling. I even made a comment to the boat’s pilot and he said it was nothing, but just a few pebbles.’

Mendonça continued: ‘When I looked again, that huge rock was already falling, that huge piece of rock. I looked at the many boats below and a horrible scene. 

‘The pilot left as fast as he could get us out of there. Very sad, I never imaged we would witness such a scene.’ 

Andréia Mendonça moments before the collapse

Alessandra Barbosa told news outlet EPTV that she is seeking news of her uncles, who were spending the weekend at the site and decided to take a boat tour of the cliff.

“I called local hospitals. So far I haven’t had any information about them. We are distressed, very concerned,” she said.

“We get nervous because we have no information and it’s family, right? Family is everything to us.”

Authorities are now trying to identify those killed, with their bodies badly damaged in the collapse.

The authorities said two people remained hospitalized, while at least 27 people were treated for injuries that were not serious. As of Sunday afternoon, local officials had identified only one of the boaters who died: Julio Borges Antunes, 68, a retiree from Minas Gerais.


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