Brazil dam burst: Several killed and hundreds are missing as mud engulfs town | World News
Several people have died and more than 200 people are missing after a dam burst at an iron ore mine in Brazil.
The disaster happened near the city of Belo Horizonte unleashing a torrent of mud towards the town of Brumadinho in the south east of the country.
The fire brigade said there had been “several” deaths and confirmed at least 200 people are missing.
Homes were damaged and destroyed when the river of mud gushed across roads and through vegetation and farmland.
Helicopters plucked people covered in mud from the area, including a woman with a fractured hip who was among eight injured people taken to hospital.
The owners of the mine, Vale, said some of its workers were in the administrative buildings of the dam that were covered by the surge of mud and water and there could be casualties in that area.
Families were told to evacuate their homes in low-lying areas, authorities said.
Television pictures showed people running away as the dam broke and photos on local news websites showed a vast area covered in sludge with people walking in ankle deep mud.
Images showed firemen rescuing at least three people from the mud.
The mud is full of mining waste and there are fears that huge areas of land could be contaminated.
Newly-elected president Jair Bolsonaro sent three ministers to the disaster area and he will visit himself on Saturday, his chief spokesman said.
The region is still recovering from collapse of a larger dam in 2015 that killed 19 people.
In that incident, a dam owned jointly by the Samarco Mineracao SA venture, Vale and BHP Billiton broke in the same region of Minas Gerais state, burying local homes in Brazil’s worst environmental disaster.
Former environmental minister and presidential candidate Marina Silva said Brazilian authorities and private miners had not learned anything from the 2015 disaster and called it unacceptable.
In a tweet she said: “Three years after the serious environmental crime in Mariana, with investigations still ongoing and no-one punished, history repeats itself as tragedy in Brumadinho.”