Death toll from Brazil dam disaster hits 58, with 305 missing

by BERNAMA / pic by AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO – The death toll from Brazil’s collapsed tailings dam climbed to 58, with 305 people still reported missing in southeast Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, said local authorities.

Of the 58 victims, 19 were identified, reported Xinhua news agency.

The missing people include residents of the destroyed area and workers from Brazilian mining company Vale, according to the state fire department.

Search and rescue work started early Sunday morning but one and a half hours later, an alarm was activated as there was a risk that another dam of the Corrego do Feijao mine complex – this time a water dam – could rupture as well.

Rescue efforts were immediately suspended and thousands of residents were ordered to move to safe ground, as they risked being in the path of destruction.

Rescue work resumed at 3pm (1700 GMT) after the dam was being drained and evacuation was called off after the dam was no longer at risk of bursting.

The chances of finding more survivors of Friday’s tailings dam disaster “are really slim,” Eduardo Angelo, chief of the fire department said Sunday.

However, “we are working with the possibility of finding people alive,” he added.