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Rescue efforts in the aftermath of the cave collapse which killed nine Brazilian firefighters during an exercise on October 31st. Photo: Bomberos de Sao Paulo
03 Nov 2021

Nine firefighters died in a cave collapse during training drill

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Nine firefighters have been confirmed dead after a cave collapsed during a cave rescue exercise outside the city of Altinópolis in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo.

Altinopolis, which is located about 300km (200 miles) north of Sao Paulo city, is known for its caves which are popular local tourist destinations. 

The accident occurred on Sunday October 31, when the firefighters were on a training exercise in the Duas Bocas cave, the Sao Paulo fire department said on Twitter.

26 firefighters were in the cave when the accident occurred. Many of the victims were trapped, and a feverish rescue operation was launched, which was hampered by concerns about new collapses.

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

Five of the firefighters were taken to hospital, but were allegedly not seriously injured, and were released within a few hours. 

Allegedly, the firefighters had planned to spend the night inside the cave. However, the entrance to the cave collapsed and the team was trapped inside. 

Cover photo: (Above) Rescue efforts in the aftermath of the cave collapse which killed nine Brazilian firefighters during an exercise on October 31st. Photo: Bomberos de Sao Paulo