Two parents were crushed to death alongside their seven-month-old son and their pet dog after a cliff collapsed on top of them on a Brazilian beach.
Hugo Pereira, 32, has died with his partner, Stella Souza, 33. She was found under the rubble hugging her baby as she tried to protect the child from the rocks.
The boy was rescued alive but died shortly thereafter from his injuries.
Witnesses said the family were sitting near the base of the cliff on the beach in Pipa in the northern state of Rio Grande do Norte on Tuesday when rocks collapsed above them.
The family’s dog, called Brisa, also died in the crash.
Hugo Pereira, 32, has died with his partner, Stella Souza, 33. She was found under the rubble hugging her baby as she tried to protect the child from the rocks (the family pictured together in an undated photo)
Members of the public gather around the rubble pile on Pipa Beach on Tuesday after the family were buried under the falling rock
People try to save the family after being crushed by rocks on the beach in the upstate of Rio Grande do Norte on Tuesday
People visiting the beach rushed to the rubble and tried to dig up the family with their hands and sticks
Onlookers at the scene on Tuesday, by the time rescuers arrived the family had died
A local resident, Igor Caetano, who witnessed the tragedy and tried to help the victims, told G1: “We dug until we found the father, then we found the mother and the ‘child. She was hugging (the baby).
“It seems she instinctively tried to protect her son. The injuries to the adults were very serious as they suffered most of the collapse.
He said the little boy was still breathing when he was found.
“A doctor was passing by when the accident happened and she tried to revive the child. But he couldn’t be saved, ”said Mr. Caetano, a nautical engineer.
Videos taken moments after the incident show dozens of people on the beach digging with their hands and using wooden sticks in an attempt to save the victims.
Ms. Souza’s cousin João Marinho said the family was dead by the time rescuers arrived at the scene.
The fisherman said: “I was born and raised here and it has always happened because the sea is gradually destroying the cliff more and more.
Witnesses shocked at the tragic loss of life said Mr Pereira was well known to residents as he had moved to the area to raise a family and worked as a hotel manager near the beach (pictured with his dog )
Mr. Pereira enjoys the waves with the dog of the Brisa family
“When we see tourists sitting in the shade of the cliffs, we warn them to leave because we know the risk.
Signs placed near the base of the cliff warning of the dangers of landslides are constantly washed away by high tide, council officials said.
Tibau do Sul city communications officer Fábio Pinheiro said: “As the tides fill up and hit the cliff, its base is eroding, making the upper section more vulnerable to collapse. It is not uncommon for part of the rock face to break off.
Parts of the cliff are over 196 feet high.
He reported that a beach patrol team had passed the scene earlier and apparently saw the couple and warned them to move their location.
Mr Pereira with his dog Brisa
Mr. Pereira sitting under a waterfall watched by his dog
Mr. Pereira sitting on a camper van with his dog
Witnesses shocked at the tragic loss of life said Mr Pereira was well known to locals as he had moved to the area to start a family and worked as a hotel manager near the beach.
Before taking root, the father of one had spent 2017 traveling the country in a motorhome with his pet dog.
On Twitter, the Minister of Tourism, Marcelo Álvaro Antônio, deplored the accident and expressed his condolences to the relatives and friends of the victims.