Brazil cliff collapse: 7 dead, 3 missing after large boulder crashes into cruise ship in Lake Furnas

BRASILIA, Brazil — At least seven people were killed after a large rock fell on top of several cruise ships in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais on Saturday, officials said.

Three people are still missing but rescue efforts were halted late Saturday due to “lack of natural light” at Lake Furnas in Capitólio. Pedro Aihara, a spokesman for the Minas Gerais Fire Department said they would resume Sunday at 5 a.m. local time.

Aihara said 23 of 32 people treated at Santa Casa de Capitólio with minor injuries have been discharged, while two others are treated at Santa Casa in Piumhi city with broken bones.

Rescue efforts will continue at least through Monday, Aihara said, adding that situations like a victim being trapped under a rock could prolong that job.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said the Navy had deployed a relief team to join the search and rescue effort.

The state of Minas Gerais, a landlocked area in southeastern Brazil, has experienced heavy rainfall recently. On Friday, Brazil’s National Meteorological Institute issued a red warning for Minas Gerais, forecasting more than 100 mm of rain per day for at least four days, state media Agncia Brasil reported.

According to Romeu Zema, governor of Minas Gerais, heavy rains were responsible for the flaking of rocks in Lake Furnas.

“I stand in solidarity with the families at this difficult time,” Zema wrote on Twitter. “We will continue to act to provide the necessary protection and support.”

A video posted on social media shows tourists on other boats in Lake Furnas shouting “get out of there” just before the rock fell.

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Dais Johnston

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