Science

Toll in Brazil dam disaster rises to 115 dead, 248 missing

Toll in Brazil dam disaster rises to 115 dead, 248 missing

A number of experts and legislators claim that lax regulations and chronic short staffing made the devastating collapse of the dam in southeastern Brazil all but destined to happen.

Harrowing CCTV footage obtained by Brazilian channel TV Globo shows the exact moment of the shocking collapse that unleashed a powerful torrent of sludge, destroying everything in its path and washing away roads, buildings, and villages.

The deadly disaster occurred January 25 at an iron-ore mine owned by Vale, a Brazilian mining company.

Camera IconFriends and relatives light candles during a march paying homage to the victims.

Their responsibilities are believed to include dealing with environmental impact licences.

The Jan. 25 tragedy has killed 110 people, mostly Vale workers, with another 238 still missing.




Backhoes stopped digging in the mud and rescuers looking for survivors in the thick mine tailings all looked to the sky as 10 fire department and police helicopters released flower petals on the iron ore mining complex. Authorities have not yet called off the search for bodies although no one has been found alive since Saturday.

Dams holding mining waste, known as tailings, sometimes collapse for this reason.

The dam failure has released an estimated 12 million cubic metres of tailings (mining sludge) and the metal will enter the soil, affecting the local ecosystems.

A rescue worker reacts as he attends a mass for victims of a collapsed tailings dam owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA, in Brumadinho, Brazil, Feb. 1, 2019.

The company's employees were having lunch when the incident occurred.

Hundreds of municipalities and larger cities such as Petrolina, 1400km from Brumadinho, get drinking water from the Sao Francisco River.


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