Torrent of mud comes rushing down a steep hillside after days of heavy rain in Parana state, hitting highway BR 367, leaving two dead and sweeping some 20 cars and trucks along with it, local official says.

Authorities are using drones with heat-detecting cameras in hopes of finding survivors.
Authorities are using drones with heat-detecting cameras in hopes of finding survivors. (Santa Catarina Fire Department via AFP)

At least two people have been killed, and dozens more are missing after a landslide ravaged a section of highway in southern Brazil, sweeping some 20 cars and trucks along with it, authorities said.

The torrent of mud came rushing down a steep hillside on Monday after days of heavy rain in Parana state, hitting highway BR 367, officials said on Wednesday.

"It's hard to know the exact number of victims. A vehicle could have one to five people inside. We're working with an estimate of 30 to 50 people missing," local emergency response chief Manoel Vasco told a news conference.

Aerial images released by the emergency services showed a massive splotch of brown mud that swept away everything in its path — including a large chunk of highway and the vehicles on it.

Rescue workers said the bad weather and remote location complicate the search effort.

They are using drones with heat-detecting cameras in hopes of finding survivors.

READ MORE: Dozens killed in Brazil landslides and floods

Deadly landslides 

Two bodies have been found so far, and six survivors have been located, including the mayor of the coastal town of Guaratuba, the nearest city.

"It was horrible. The mountain just fell on top of us. It swept away every last car. We're only alive by the grace of God," the mayor, Roberto Justus, said in a video posted on social media.

Brazil is frequently hit by deadly landslides.

In February, more than 200 people were killed in a series of landslides in the picturesque southeastern tourist town of Petropolis.

READ MORE: Hundreds left homeless from deadly landslides, floods in Brazil's Sao Paulo

Source: AFP