A torrent of mud and rock crashed through the back of the hotel, flooding the ground and first floors in Bariloche, Argentina. It is feared that the two missing tourists returned to the hotel just before the disaster
A tourist has died and two others are missing after a mudslide hit a hotel in Argentina.
Victor Gonzalez Giovanelli, 78, from the Uruguayan town of Piriapolis, was killed while staying at the Huinid complex in the town of Bariloche in Argentina’s Rio Negro province around 6:30 p.m. on June 6.
Heavy rains in the area were blamed for the deadly landslide that crashed into the hotel.
Rescuers are still looking for two Uruguayan women who are believed to be missing.
The avalanche of mud and rock hit the back of the hotel without warning and engulfed the ground and first floors of the building.
Local media said some hotel guests were evacuated from their rooms in bathrobes.
A 77-year-old tourist was rescued and transferred to the San Carlos health center.
Two other guests were also taken to Ramon Carrillo Hospital for treatment. Fortunately, they are in stable condition according to a report from the Río Negro public prosecutor’s office.
“There was an avalanche, a landslide that entered through the back of the hotel which is closer to Bustillo Avenue. Part of the landslide entered through the second floor towards the first floor” , said the head of police unit 27, Marcelo Guastavino.
The mudslide toppled a retaining wall and erupted the rear of the resort, which has two buildings, a spa and several cabins, to 75% capacity.
Mr. Gonzalez Giovanelli was in his room when the wall of mud and stone hit the building.
Prosecutor Betiana Cendón said Mr. Gonzalez Giovanelli and the other two missing persons were part of a group that arrived on Monday morning.
According to the Rio Negro police, the search operation using rescue dogs had to be suspended for fear that the building would collapse.
The two missing women were initially thought to have gone on a trip, but local authorities fear they may have returned and been buried under the rubble.
The landslide also hit a nearby hotel, but luckily there were no casualties, according to local media.
It followed a day of relentless rain in Bariloche, a popular mountain resort.
Natural disasters are unfortunately relatively common in the South American country, with forest fires devastating large areas earlier this year.
It was estimated that the flames consumed more than 519,000 hectares of land, approximately 10% of this land being part of Ibera National Park.
Climate change has hit Argentina hard, causing floods and droughts across the country.
Since 1970, precipitation has increased by 10% in the northeast, while in parts of La Pampa province and western Buenos Aires province, it has increased by 40%, according to studies.