SAO PAULO — At least three people were seriously injured when a large, unstable piece of rock fell in front of a crowd of spectators at a ceremonial float parade Thursday in central Rio de Janeiro, reportedly triggering a landslide and sending 30 people into the Guanabara Bay, local media reported.
Helicopters hoisted scores of people to safety from the pile of debris, which included seats and a makeshift stage that had been set up in front of Rio’s famed Christ the Redeemer statue, according to Brazilian TV images.
São Paulo-based Globo reported that the land between the square and the statue started to slide as the stage collapsed.
Brazilian emergency workers were reporting just over 70 injuries, according to the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper.
“We are here to witness the presentation of a military unit, looking for victims … presumed victims have been rescued,” Baik Ana Efrem, an emergency doctor, told Globo.
The group involved was the Palmares armed forces honor guard, the Globo TV reports.
Brazilian President Michel Temer expressed his condolences to the injured, according to O Globo newspaper.
Witnesses told Brazilian news media the event was to mark Independence Day.