SANTA MARIA, Brazil, Nov. 2 (UPI) — Brazilian police on Tuesday said at least 10 people died after the roof of a cave collapsed in the city of Santa Maria’s Casa da Pedro grotto during a religious event.
At least seven people were injured and taken to nearby hospitals. Officials are attempting to determine what caused the incident in Tocantins state. There was no rainfall at the time.
About 50 people were inside the grotto at the time of the collapse to celebrate All Saint’s Day by leaving candles and praying. A helicopter from Brazil’s Public Security Secretariat was sent to Santa Maria to aid victims.
“I never imagined a tragedy of this magnitude. It’s nerve-wracking,” Santa Maria mayor Helen Rute de Freitas told G1 Globo.com. “We sent out cars, people, machines. We contacted the mayors of the cities, which are also giving support.”
Freitas said the All Saints Day celebration is traditionally held outside of the cave.