Dozens of firefighters were exercising in a cave on the Gruta Duas Bocas Trail near Altinópolis in São Paulo, Brazil when the roof of the building collapsed
Image: via REUTERS)
Nine firefighters were killed in a cave collapse when a training exercise went horribly wrong.
When the roof collapsed, 28 members of the Sao Paulo Military Fire Brigade were in the cave in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
At 11:30 a.m. local time, rescue workers rushed to the scene, the officials said.
Nine of the firefighters died in the incident and several others were injured. One is still in the hospital with “non-life threatening injuries”.
First rescue attempts were hampered by heavy rains in the area.
But the rescue operation was completed on Sunday and there are no more missing.
The tragedy occurred on the Gruta Duas Bocas Trail near the Altinópolis community, known for its caves popular with tourists.
Eight of its caves are regularly visited by tourists flocking to the scenic region.
Speaking of the tragedy on social media, Sao Paulo Governor João Doria said: “SP firefighters have just completed the search in Altinópolis.
“My feelings for the family and friends of the 9 civilian firefighters who lost their lives in this tragedy.”
Speaking to GloboNews, Cristina Trifoni, the mother of one of the instructors taking part in the training, said the group had planned to spend the night in the cave.
She said, “What happened is that the entrance to the place they were in collapsed. I’m desperate.”
The collapse comes just a year after a similar tragedy that killed at least 50 people in the collapse of a gold mine in Africa.
The artisanal gold mine collapsed near Kamituga in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The incident also occurred after heavy rainfall in the area.