Disaster in Brazil – geologist: death rock fall could have been prevented


The unbelievable pictures from the Brazilian vacation paradise went around the world: On Saturday, a huge chunk of rock came loose in a canyon – and buried several tourist boats.

It is now clear: at least ten people lost their lives in the dramatic incident. On Sunday, the emergency services recovered two more bodies from Lake Furmas – and deprived anxious relatives of the last hope that their relatives would be found alive after all.



Desperate relatives of victims of the tragedyPhoto: WASHINGTON ALVES / REUTERS

In addition to the boat driver, the dead are a married couple, their son and a grandson, as well as other relatives and friends, said regional police officer Marcos Pimenta at a press conference.

They came from the states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo and were on the boat “Jesus”.

According to local authorities, there are no more missing. More than 30 other people were injured, nine of them were hospitalized.


A gigantic wave and boulders flew through the air as the rock wall crashed onto the boats

A gigantic wave and boulders flew through the air as the rock wall crashed onto the boatsPhoto: O Tempo / twitter

Geologist raises allegations against authorities

Meanwhile, allegations are being raised that the terrible accident near the municipality of Capitolio (state of Minas Gerais) could have been prevented.

▶ ︎The geology professor Maria Parisi from the Federal University of Minas Gerais told the news portal “O Tempo” about pictures of the rock wall from which the death lump was detached: “I could already see fractures. There was a very long and repetitive point in the rock – perpendicular, along the entire wall. “

There was also another horizontal break in the rock face, the professor said. These cracks allowed more water to penetrate the rocks – which ultimately loosened them.

Their conclusion: “The area was predisposed to be demolished.”

In the media and social networks, there was also a Facebook post with which a user had warned ten years ago of the risk of a rock fall on Lake Furnas. “This stone will fall…”, the doctor Flávio Freitas wrote in March 2012 about a photo that showed a long vertical crack in the rock wall above the water.


“This stone will fall…” doctor Flávio Freitas was sure ten years ago

“This stone will fall…” doctor Flávio Freitas was sure ten years ago Photo: facebook / dr.flavio.freitas

The professor demands a minimum distance to rocks

The geologist advocated “constant monitoring” of the rock faces in the water-rich region. “Such tourist activity must be supported by a geological report,” said Parisi.

Depending on the results of the analysis, the slopes should then be removed so as not to endanger the trippers.

She also called for a distance zone to the cliffs: “This is a phenomenon that can repeat itself. There must be a minimum distance between the boat and the rocks. “


The scene of the accident after the tragedy, debris floating in the water

The scene of the accident after the tragedy, debris floating in the waterPhoto: HANDOUT / AFP

The professor is convinced that “the tragedy would not have happened if such a measure had been taken”. For example, the boats further away from the slope were not affected by the accident.

“It is very sad to see situations where the worst could have been avoided if there had been technical analysis,” said Parisi.

The Brazilian Navy launched an investigation on Saturday into the cause of the rock fall. It should also be clarified whether the excursion boats were even allowed to be on the lake because of the weather conditions.

The civil defense had warned of heavy rain.

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