Another 10 people were injured in the mudslide and more than 100 rescuers, police helicopters and navy vessels have been attempting to search for survivors in the area which is only accessible by boat.

Hotel fully booked

A block of land 300 metres wide hit the houses and hotel.

The Sankay lodge was said to be able to hold 50 guests and was fully booked at the time of the accident.

More rain is forecast for the forthcoming days.

Another seven people died earlier in the day in the Angra dos Reis area due to mudslides.

About 80 mudslides have occurred in the region, officials said.

Three days of mourning have been declared locally and the city's annual celebration on January 6 has been cancelled.

On Thursday, mudslides elsewhere in the state killed 19 people, mostly inhabitants of shantytowns in the greater Rio de Janeiro city area.