Research

Harrowing moment dam collapse unleashes deadly wave of waste

Share
Gomes says he feels lucky he wasn't at the mine at the time of the dam collapse

Vehicles can be seen driving on the right hand of the screen before they are eventually covered in mud.

People pray outside the Brumadinho Matriz Church during a service mourning the missing people and victims in the community of Parque das Cachoeiras, after the dam collapse, January 31, 2019.

The Brazilian mining company Vale SA, the owner of the tailings dam, faced with criticism and suspended production as protesters gathered in front of its headquarters.

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

At least 65 people have died and a further 279 are missing.

Excavators 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 onto the iron ore mining complex.

On Saturday, rescue workers were concentrating on an area where there had been a dressing room in which there were numerous people at the time of the disaster, said Pedro Aihara, spokesman for the fire department.

The mining waste or tailings, which contain toxic levels of iron oxide, plastered 252 hectares of Brumadinho and the Paraopeba River.

Officials with the Mines and Energy Ministry and the National Mining Agency (ANM) told reporters on Friday that the cause of the rupture was still unclear and that all documentation regularly submitted by Vale had indicated that the dam was stable.

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

"If we had known (what the problem was), maybe this tragedy would have never happened", The ministry's mining secretary Alexandre Vidigal said.

Share