Published: Sat, February 02, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

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

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

Virtually all those killed when the dam collapsed on January 25 were workers at the mine, burred under a wall of thick sludge and mining extrapolate.

The mine in Brumadinho is owned by Brazil's Vale, the world's largest iron-ore producer, and most of the victims were employees of the company.

Newly-released video footage shows the harrowing moment a mining dam collapsed, unleashing a powerful wave of waste that swept over everything in its path in Brazil.

It is likely the collapse was caused by liquefaction, a Minas Gerais state official told Reuters.

"Prince Philip and I were deeply saddened to learn of the devastation and loss of life caused by the ruptured dam in Brumadinho".

This is the second incident to happen at one of its mines in three years. "Vale described the study as a routine disaster preparation plan required by regulators".

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The danger is widespread - a 2017 report from the National Water Agency classified more than 700 dams nationwide as a high risk of collapse and with high potential for causing damage.

This is the process whereby a solid material loses strength and behaves more like a liquid, and was the same issue which led to the 2015 collapse of the company's Samarco damn.

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

The video shows a torrent of sludge crushing buildings while a train snaking through the area barely avoids the approaching avalanche and a auto races to a similar narrow escape. The company has said the mud flow destroyed the sirens before they could sound the alarm.

"This tragedy will be remembered not just here but all over Brazil", said 23-year-old Jonatan Silva Santos, who lost friends that worked at Vale. "We are in the investigation phase and we can not say whether the (inspection) model was adequate or not".

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