Published: Mon, February 04, 2019
Science | By Michele Flores

Brazil dam disaster increases to 121

Brazil dam disaster increases to 121

At least 60 people have been confirmed dead and an estimated 292 remained missing at Vale SA after a dam storing mine waste at the Corrego de Feijao mine in Brumadinho on Friday.

More than 250 firefighters, with the help of 22 trained dogs, search for the 226 still missing following the collapse of the dam owned by Brazilian mining company Vale in Brumadinho.

The disaster happened in the municipality of Brumadinho on January 25 when a tailings dam collapsed and sent 13 million cubic meters of sludge and mud down the hill.

A week after the deadly collapse rescue workers paid homage to the 110 victims killed and 238 who are still missing.

There is an investigation underway into the cause of the dam's collapse, and five people have been arrested including three officials from Vale SA - the company which owns the dam.

An internal study showed the miner knew as recently as a year ago that some of the areas hit were at risk if its tailings dam burst, according to a report by Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. "Vale described the study as a routine disaster preparation plan required by regulators".

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The most recent victims were found in a changing room that was buried by more than 20 metres of mud.

Waste residue spread by the dam's collapse containing potentially toxic levels of iron oxide has plastered 252 hectares of the Brumadinho and the Paraopeba River.

The study envisaged that sirens would alert workers if the dam burst.

Employees of the mining complex were eating lunch when the dam gave way.

"Everybody, the majority, worked in mining", he said.

Neto said liquefaction caused the 2015 collapse of the Samarco dam, which led to the deaths of 19 people.

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