MIAMI (WSVN) – A South Florida man has gone missing after he and two friends he was hiking with were swept away by floodwaters in Brazil, triggering a desperate search.
Thirty-year-old Raul Jimenez had traveled to the South American country on vacation with his friends.
During a hike at the Parque Nacional da Chapada dos Veadeiros, the water around his group began to rise, going from where they were able to walk on rocks to waist deep within minutes.
Shortly after, the water became shoulder deep, and the group was swept away.
Jimenez’s mother said she and other loved ones boarded a flight to Brazil on Sunday night to see if they could help with the search.
Jimenez was last seen alive at around 1 p.m. on Saturday in the Alto Paraíso de Goiás area.
Speaking with 7News on Sunday, Daniella Rincón, a close friend of Jimenez, said the group was hiking near the Raizama Waterfall.
“A flash flood occurred on Saturday, January 28th around 12:30 p.m. local time,” she said.
Jimenez was initially able to get to higher ground, but the water, caused by heavy rainfall in the area, continued to rise.
“Raul was briefly able to find land until the water rose, and he was swept away by the rip current and was unable to grab anything to hold onto,” said Rincón.
Rincón said Jimenez’s two friends were rescued hours later.
“The woman was pulled to safety, and the other man was able to grab hold of some rocks nearby until the rescues arrived, around 7 p.m. local time,” she said.
Brazil’s military is conducting a search for Jimenez with drones, helicopters and divers.
Jimenez’s friends believe he is still alive. They are helping the military in their search efforts.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help the search for Jimenez. If you would like to make a donation, click here.
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