Nine firefighters killed in Brazil cave collapse

Twenty-six firefighters were on a training exercise in the Duas Bocas cave when its roof collapsed.

The accident occurred as 26 firefighters were on a training exercise in the Duas Bocas cave [Screenshot/Reuters]

Nine firefighters have died near Brazil’s Altinopolis city after the roof collapsed in a cave while they were training inside, according to Brazilian authorities.

The accident occurred on Sunday as 26 firefighters were on a training exercise in the Duas Bocas cave, the Sao Paulo fire department said on Twitter.

“There were nine dead and one person rescued. There are no more victims at the site,” it said.

Earlier, officials had said there were three dead and six missing. The identities of the victims were not disclosed.

A previous report from the Altinopolis mayor’s office said 15 firefighters were still buried, and that three of the victims who were rescued suffered fractures and hypothermia.

Five people in total were taken to a local hospital and discharged, according to the mayor’s office.

Police and emergency health teams had joined firefighters earlier on Sunday in a desperate effort to free those still trapped, but the work was hampered by heavy rains.

Access to the remote site was difficult, and threats of new collapses complicated the rescue attempts.

Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria had said on Twitter he would provide “all the support and resources necessary for the rescue of the victims”.

Speaking to GloboNews, Cristina Trifoni, the mother of one of the instructors participating in the training event, explained that the group had planned to spend the night inside the cave.

“What happened is that the entrance to the place they were in collapsed. I’m desperate,” she said, standing next to relatives of other firefighters who anxiously awaited word on the rescue effort.

Altinopolis, which is located about 300km (200 miles) north of Sao Paulo city, is known for its caves, a major regional tourist attraction.

Source: News Agencies