Nine firefighters die in Brazil as cave collapses during training

The group was on a training exercise in a cave near the city of Altinopolis

Courtesy: Twitter
Courtesy: Twitter

By Agencies

Published: Mon 1 Nov 2021, 3:16 AM

Nine firefighters died on Sunday in Brazil’s Sao Paulo state after the roof of a cave in which they were training collapsed, authorities said, raising the death toll from three.

“There were nine dead and one person rescued. No more victims at the site,” the Sao Paulo fire department said on Twitter.

Earlier, officials had said there were three dead and six missing.

The accident occurred as a group of 26 firefighters were on a training exercise in a cave near the city of Altinopolis, the Sao Paulo fire department said on Twitter.

“The roof of the cave collapsed,” trapping part of the group, it said.

The department tweeted earlier on Sunday afternoon that “unfortunately there are three (firefighters) dead,” without identifying them.

Police and emergency health teams have joined firefighters in a desperate effort to free those still trapped, but the work has been hampered by heavy rains.

Access to the remote site is difficult, and threats of new collapses have complicated the rescue.

Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria said on Twitter he would provide “all the support and resources necessary for the rescue of the victims.”

Speaking to GloboNews, Cristina Trifoni, mother of one of the instructors participating in the training event, explained that the group had planned to spend the night inside the cave.

“What happened is that the entrance to the place they were in collapsed. I’m desperate,” she said, standing next to relatives of other firefighters who anxiously awaited word on the rescue effort.

Altinopolis is known for its caves, a major regional tourist attraction.

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