BRASILIA, (Reuters) – At least six people died and nine were seriously injured when a wall of rock collapsed on top of motor boats below a waterfall in southeastern Brazil yesterday, the local fire department said.
A tower of rocks suddenly broke away from the canyon wall and came crashing down on several leisure boats, sending out a huge wave over the lake at Capitolio, in Minas Gerais state.
Videos posted on social media showed tourists shouting as the column of rock smashed into the water. At least one wrecked boat sank, others sped away.
Firemen said divers were searching for 20 people believed to be missing. Two boats were hit directly by the rocks and 24 people rescued from them alive, fire department spokesman Pedro Aihara said. Six bodies have been recovered, he said.
The people hurt in the accident had broken bones and one was in serious condition in hospital with head and facial injuries. Some 23 others were treated for light injuries, he said.
The region has been under heavy rainfall for two weeks, which could have loosened the rock face. Yesterday, a dike overflowed at an iron ore mine 300 kilometers to the east, cutting off a major federal highway.