Mother tried to protect her son in collapse of cliff in...

Stella Souza, one of the victims of the cliff collapse on Pipa beach on Tuesday (17), tried to protect her son at the time of the accident. She was found hugging the 7-month-old baby, according to witnesses. Stella’s husband, Hugo Pereira, 32, also died buried in the place, one of the main tourist destinations in Rio Grande do Norte.

Nautical entrepreneur Igor Caetano witnessed the accident and tried to help the victims. He said the mother hugged her son in an attempt to protect him.

“There was still time for the mother to try to hold the child, which is why the adults were more hurt, because the mother was hugging him [o bebê].”

“We dug until we found the father, and then we found the mother and the child. The boy was still breathing. Coincidentally, a doctor was passing by at the time. She tried to revive the child, but there was no other way,” said Caetano .

1 of 4 Stella Souza, 33, Hugo Pereira, 32, and their son, Sol de Souza, 7 months, died on the spot – Photo: Personal archive

Stella Souza, 33, Hugo Pereira, 32, and their son, Sol de Souza, 7 months, died on the spot – Photo: Personal archive

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At the time of the accident, the couple and the baby were sitting near the cliff. João Marinho, Stella’s cousin, said that when the rescue team arrived on the scene, they found the family dead – the couple’s dog also died buried.

“I am born and raised here and this has always happened, but more and more the sea is destroying the cliff. We see tourists enjoying the shadow of the cliffs and ask them to leave because we know the risk,” he said, is a fisherman.

As the tides fill and hit the cliff, its base is being eroded, which makes the upper part more vulnerable to collapse.

Pipa is a district of Tibau do Sul, which is about 100 km from Natal. In addition to the beaches, the place is known for cultural and gastronomic festivals.

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Cliff collapse leaves three dead on Pipa Beach

2 of 4 Part of the cliff collapses and leaves 3 dead from the same family in Pipa – Photo: Personal archive

Part of the cliff collapses and leaves 3 dead from the same family in Pipa – Photo: Personal archive

3 of 4 Photo of an area close to the accident that killed family in Pipa this Tuesday (17th) shows the wear on the cliff caused by the tides – Photo: Juliane Barreto / Inter TV Cabugi

Photo of an area close to the accident that killed family in Pipa this Tuesday (17th) shows the wear on the cliff caused by the tides – Photo: Juliane Barreto / Inter TV Cabugi

Plates carried by the tide

According to the city of Tibau do Sul, signs with a warning of the risk of landslides are placed constantly in the region, but are soon taken by the high tide.

The municipality’s Communication Secretary, Fábio Pinheiro, said that, just before the accident, the couple was warned of the risks by a city hall inspector.

Before the pandemic, Pipa received an average of 7,000 people a day in high season, according to the city hall. The use of the beach was not banned during the pandemic, and there is no estimate from the public that has been attending the site during that period.

4 of 4 Praia de Pipa, right after the collapse of part of a cliff. – Photo: Personal archive

Pipa Beach, right after the collapse of part of a cliff. – Photo: Personal archive

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