The death toll on Capitol Hill rises to 8;  two people are still missing

This is the third investigation into the tragedy; Navy and Civil Police also opened investigations

Joel Silva/Fotoarena/Estadão ContentStone slide in Furnas Lake killing 10 people

THE public ministry from Minas Gerais (MPMG) announced this Tuesday, the 11th, the opening of a civil inquiry to investigate the conduct of the municipality of Capitol (MG) in the tragedy that killed ten people. The episode took place last Saturday, the 8th, after a rock slide from the Furnas Lake canyon, one of the main tourist attractions in the region. The stone block collapsed at around 12:30 pm where there were speedboats carrying dozens of tourists. Shortly after the incident, images recorded by those who were on less affected vessels were disseminated through social networks. According to the MPMG, it will be determined whether the city hall has fulfilled its obligations to identify, map and inspect risk areas. Prosecutors also want to know if the population was sufficiently informed about the risks in these areas. It will be the third open inquiry. Another investigation is already underway by the navy, responsible for inspecting navigation and establishing the order of the waterfront. Responsibilities will be determined by the Civil police, which intends to enlist the help of experts in geology.

According to the Minas Gerais Fire Department, all the dead were in a single boat, although one more sunk and two others were also heavily hit by the impact of the rock in the lake. Videos that were disseminated on the internet showed the point of view of other vessels that, even a little further away, were affected by the flood of water that formed, but managed to leave the place. In addition to the dead, at least 24 victims needed help in health units, some with fractures and abrasions. As in much of the state of Minas Gerais, a high volume of rains has been registered in recent weeks in Capitólio, located about 290 kilometers from Belo Horizonte. Two hours before the tragedy, the Civil Defense of Minas Gerais even issued a warning of a head of water (strong flooding in rivers caused by rains) for the region. Sightseeing, however, continued.

The mayor of the city Paulo Sérgio de Oliveira says that the detachment of a large block is an unprecedented event and that a 2019 municipal law regulates tourism in the canyon, prohibiting bathing in the speedboats’ circulation area and limiting the number of boats to 40. vessels that can stay for up to 30 minutes in the area. Yesterday, a meeting between the municipalities of Capitólio and neighboring São José da Barra was held to discuss measures aimed at reinforcing tourism safety in Lake Furnas. The company Furnas Centrais Elétricas, which is controlled by Eletrobras, released a note regretting what happened and informing that it only uses lake water to generate electricity. “The public authorities are responsible for managing the other multiple uses of the reservoir”, maintains the company, referring to the control of tourist activities in the region.

*With information from Agência Brasil

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