Brazil: Nine firefighters killed after roof of cave collapses

Nine firefighters have died near Brazil’s Altinopolis city after the roof collapsed in a cave while they were training inside, according to authorities.

The accident occurred on Sunday as 26 firefighters were on a training exercise in the Duas Bocas cave, the Sao Paulo fire department said on Twitter.

“There were nine dead and one person rescued. There are no more victims at the site,” it said.

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

A previous report from the Altinopolis mayor’s office said 15 firefighters were still buried, and that three of the victims who were rescued suffered fractures and hypothermia.

Five people in total were taken to a local hospital and discharged, according to the mayor’s office.

Police and emergency health teams had joined firefighters earlier on Sunday in a desperate effort to free those still trapped, but the work was hampered by heavy rains.

Access to the remote site was difficult, and threats of new collapses complicated the rescue attempts.

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

Altinopolis, which is located about 300km north of Sao Paulo city, is known for its caves, a major regional tourist attraction.