Six dead and 20 missing after canyon wall collapses onto motorboats on lake in Brazil

At least six people were killed and 20 others were missing after a massive slab of rock fell off a cliff face on tourist boats on a lake in Brazil.

32 more people, nine of them seriously, after a wall in a ravine plunged into the water and onto motorboats in Lake Furnas in Capitolio, Minas Gerais state, on Saturday.

Videos posted on social media showed a group of small boats near the front of the cliff when the boulder hit the water and fell onto two ships. Onlookers were heard screaming as other boats close to the scene set out to flee.

Minas Gerais fire chief Edgard Estevo said divers were searching for up to 20 people missing in the wake of the disaster.

Pedro Ihara, a spokesman for the fire department, said the two boats hit the rocks directly, and that 24 people were rescued alive. Six bodies have been recovered.

Most of the wounded were discharged from hospital on Saturday evening.

Lake Furnas, known as the “Sea of ​​Minas,” is a popular tourist attraction in the region 260 miles north of São Paulo.

Heavy rain has fallen on Minas Gerais in the past two weeks, and state officials believe it may have removed boulders.

A video posted by the Brazilian scientific research organization Conexão GeoClima showed tourists sunning under the mist of a waterfall before the rocks fell.

The tweet read: “Minutes before the accident with a boulder fall in Capitolio, Minas Gerais, a head of water was recorded at Furnas Canyon Waterfall. Note the sudden size of the waterfall.”

Estevo said the accident occurred between the towns of São Jose da Barra and Capitolio, from which the boats set off earlier that day.

Reportedly, the governor of Minas Gerais, Romeo Zema, sent messages of solidarity with the victims on social media.

The Brazilian Navy confirmed that it would investigate the cause of the accident.

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