Witnesses said the mum tried to wrap her body around her son to shield him when she saw the cliff coming down

Witnesses said the mum tried to wrap her body around her son to shield him when she saw the cliff coming down
A whole family was tragically killed when a cliff collapsed on top of them while they were enjoying the afternoon on the beach.

A young couple, their seven-month-old baby and their pet had no time to escape when the cliff came down on Tuesday.

The mum had reached for her son and had wrapped her body around him to protect him as the debris started falling in Pipa Beach in Tibau do Sul, in the north-eastern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte.

But before they could flee the beach, the cliff came tumbling down and crushed the entire family, the Daily Star reports.

The hotspot is known to have the risk of cliff falls but the warnings were destroyed by the sea, authorities said.

Witness Igor Caetano, a nautical tour businessman, told local media the victims were sat close to the cliffs and that the mother was hugging her baby to try to protect him as the debris fell onto them.

"The boy was still breathing. By chance, a doctor was passing by at the time. She tried to revive the child, but it wasn't to be."

The man has been named as Hugo Mendes Pereira, who was the reception manager at the local Sun Bay Hotel. He was originally from the municipality of Jundiai, in the south-eastern state of Sao Paulo, but he had been living in Pipa for some years.

Pereira had been enjoying a day off at the beach with his wife, 32-year-old Stela Silva de Souza, their seven-month-old son, Sol de Souza Pereira, and their pet dog.

Souza's cousin, fisherman Joao Marinho, told local media: "I was born and bred here and this has always happened, but the sea is increasingly destroying the cliffs. We see tourists enjoying the shade under the cliffs and we ask them to leave because we know of the risk."

Fabio Pinheiro, the municipality's communications secretary, informed local media that the couple was alerted to the risk by an official from the local authority shortly before the accident.

According to Francisco Albuquerque Neto, the municipality's urban services secretary, the local authority had put up a warning sign along the stretch of beach where the incident happened. That too, however, had been destroyed by the sea.