Rockfall in Brazil: “It was like a bomb, those who were nearby jumped into the air” | International

Firefighters are searching the lake this Saturday in search of missing persons in the loosening of a giant rock.
Firefighters are searching the lake this Saturday in search of missing persons in the loosening of a giant rock.FIRE BRIGADE OF MINAS GERAIS (via REUTERS)

The sailor Ederson de Oliveira was one of the witnesses to the detachment of a huge rock that on Saturday killed 10 Brazilian tourists in a lake in the city of Capitólio (Minas Gerais). He makes a living strolling visitors who observe the spectacular cliffs from the lake. On Saturday he was struck by the number of stones falling from a crevice. Alarmed, he turned the wheel and walked away from the wall moments before the tragedy, according to what he told the newspaper. Globe. According to him, less than a minute later, the brutal detachment took place.

The sailor remembers the noise thus: “Near the rock (of the place of impact), there was an implosion, like a bomb, which made everyone jump into the air. We, who were further away, saw a wave of three or four meters. Thank God my boat is bigger ”than those affected, he said.

The fall of an immense rock directly impacted on two boats that reach that corner of Lake Furnas navigating through beautiful canyons. The deceased were all together in one of them. They were a group of family and friends who spent the weekend in Capitólio. They were staying at the same hotel. They were three women and seven men between 68 and 14 years old.

The event also injured 32 families, including the sailor De Oliveira, who was injured by some splinters of the rock that fell off the wall. The rescue efforts have now concluded.

The sailor perceived the risk and had a reaction that narrowly avoided greater evils. “I was one of the first to arrive and I went to take a photo of the staff (who was in the boat), we all want a picture with the waterfall in the background. I heard a stone fall and I thought: ‘Since it is raining a lot, a piece is normal’. But I saw that many others fell from the crack, that was no longer normal. I decided to move away and notify the inspector who was in the area to alert the other vessels. ” The sailor says that he was surprised that the fragment fell, drawing a curve (and trapping several ships) and not plumb vertically.

Rainfall continues to be very abundant in Minas Gerais, so much so that the Vale mining company and other companies in the sector have paralyzed their activities in the region to avoid accidents. The rains have also flooded cities, roads and rail lines. Vale, one of the largest mining companies in the world, reported this Monday that due to bad weather it was paralyzing part of its tasks in the region. The company has suffered two serious catastrophes in recent years.

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In January 2019, a gigantic mine waste dump exploded in Brumadinho, killing 270 people who were engulfed in mud. The company agreed to pay 6.8 billion for the damages caused. Years earlier, in 2015, the collapse of a similar dam caused the worst environmental accident in Brazil’s history. The Public Ministry has urged the companies that inspect these deposits to reinforce their vigilance in the face of the persistence of heavy rains.

The intense rainfall in recent weeks in Minas Gerais contributed to the deadly landslide of the rock, according to specialists. Meteorologist Estael Sias explained the reasons for the tragedy in statements to the agency France Presse: “The long and intense period of rains generated an infiltration of water in the rocks, which resulted in the movement of the rocks and the fall of the wall. from the cliff. Some videos show that minutes before there was a large amount of rain coming down the waterfalls in the region with great pressure on the rocks ”.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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