Seven dead after rock face collapse on boaters near waterfall in Brazil | World news

Seven people have died after a slab of rock broke off a cliff and crashed into boaters near a waterfall in Brazil.

Three people are still missing and nine were seriously injured in the abnormal accident that took place between the towns of Sao José da Barra and Capitolio.

Edgard Estevo, Minas Gerais state fire commander, said authorities were making efforts to identify those missing.

The boats were moving near the steep rock face. File photo: AP

Video footage shared online showed a gathering of small boats moving near the sheer rock face of Furnas Lake when a crack appeared and a huge chunk spilled onto at least two of the ships.

Debris was sent flying towards the other boats.

Minas Gerais Governor Romeu Zema wrote on Twitter: “The rescue work is still ongoing. I stand in solidarity with the families during this difficult time. We will continue to act to provide the necessary support.”

The local fire department has deployed divers and helicopters to help locate the missing.

Created in 1958 for the installation of a hydroelectric power station, the lake is a popular tourist attraction in the region.

Officials at Capitolio, which has a population of around 8,400, say the city can accommodate around 5,000 visitors on weekends and up to 30,000 on public holidays.

The wall may have come loose following heavy rains and flooding in the area, officials suggested.

The Brazilian Navy, which took part in the rescue, said it would investigate the cause of the crash.

Even during the dry season, in parts of the lake, the movement is so intense that boats have to take turns to navigate the lake, the town hall press office said.

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