Wall of rock collapses on Brazil’s Furnas lake, kills 10

A column of rock crashes down on leisure boats in Furnas Lake, killing 10 and injuring at least 32 people.

Minas GeraFirefighters during a rescue operation after rock brokeonto several tourist boats at the canyons of Furnas Lake
Firefighters rushed to the scene after a wall of rock broke from a cliff and fell onto several tourist boats at the canyons of Furnas Lake, city of Capitolio, Minas Gerais state, Brazil, on January 8, 2022 [Handout / Minas Gerais Fire Department/ AFP]

The death toll from an accident in which a slab of cliff rock toppled onto pleasure boaters on a Brazilian lake has risen to 10, police said.

Authorities worked to identify the dead and divers were searching the lake in case there were more victims.

Police Chief Marcos Pimenta said on Sunday there was a possibility that some people were missing following the accident Saturday in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais.

At least 32 people were injured, though most were released from hospitals by Saturday evening.

Videos of Saturday’s incident showed tourists shouting as a column of rock came crashing down, smashing several leisure boats and sending a huge wave over the lake at Capitolio.

Rescue teams including a dive squad and members of the Brazilian Navy rushed to Furnas Lake.


The bodies were taken to Passos city, where coroners worked to identify them. The work was difficult because of the ″high energy impact″ of the rock on the boaters, said a regional civil police official, Marcos Pimenta. He said one victim had been identified as 68-year-old Julio Borges Antunes.

Furnas Lake, which was created in 1958 for the installation of a hydroelectric plant, is a popular tourist attraction in the area roughly 420km (260 miles) north of Sao Paulo.

Officials in Capitolio, which has about 8,400 residents, say the town can see approximately 5,000 visitors on a weekend, and up to 30,000 on holidays.

Officials suggested the rock face coming loose could have been related to heavy rains recently that caused flooding in the state and forced almost 17,000 people out of their homes.

On Saturday, a dike overflowed at an iron ore mine 300km (186 miles) to the east, cutting off a main federal highway.

Source: News Agencies