Mudslide kills 14 people in Brazilian resort city

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The Independent US

A rain-loosened slab of hillside collapsed on three houses and an upscale lodge after New Year celebrations at a resort near Rio de Janeiro, killing at least 14 people, Brazilian authorities said.

About 100 rescuers scrambled through mud and around toppled trees and large rocks to search for other survivors of the mudslide that also injured at least five people early Friday. Police helicopters and navy vessels were helping in the rescue efforts.

The mudslide apparently happened after tourists had returned to their rooms following the New Year's celebration in the lodge on an island off the city of Angra dos Reis, said fire department commander Pedro Machado, who reported at least 14 people had died.

Witnesses told local media the hillside lodge and the houses, which can only be accessed by boat, collapsed after being struck by a slab of land nearly 300 meters (330 yards) wide.

Television images showed a raw scar of dirt on the hill above the lodge as the slide carried away trees and other vegetation.

Wooden parts of the lodge were seen floating near the shore and on the beach.

The Sankay lodge was capable of accommodating 50 guests and was reportedly full at the time of the mudslide. The lodge was inaugurated in 1994, according to its Web site.

Other mudslides had killed 19 people across Rio de Janeiro state on Thursday, mostly when as shanties collapsed under mud or rain in the greater Rio de Janeiro city area.

Four other people had died early Friday in Angra dos Reis because of other mudslides caused by the heavy rains.

Authorities said nearly 80 mudslides have been reported throughout the region, toppling trees and destroying power lines.

Local officials declared three days of mourning and canceled the town's annual celebration on 6 January.