9 dead, up to 300 feared missing after dam collapse in Brazil


Posted on: January 26th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/LSP1982(MINAS GERAIS, Brazil) — At least nine people are dead and up to 300 people have been reported missing after an apparent dam collapse in Brazil, according to local firefighters.

A spokesperson for firefighters in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais confirmed the rough estimate of how many people are missing in the wake of the Friday afternoon incident.

There were also nine people pulled by helicopter from the thick mud that coated everything in its wake. In total, 189 people have been rescued, a spokesperson for Minas Gerais state’s Civil Defense told ABC News.

The number of people dead and missing continues to fluctuate as the situation is assessed.

There were also nine people pulled by helicopter from the thick mud that coated everything in its wake. In total, 189 people have been rescued, a spokesperson for Minas Gerais state’s Civil Defense told ABC News.

The number of people dead and missing continues to fluctuate as the situation is assessed.

The company that operates the dam, Vale SA, confirmed the collapse.

Vale is the country’s largest mining company, according to The Associated Press.

“Part of the Vila Ferteco community has also been affected,” the mining company said in a statement. “Rescue and care of the wounded is being carried out on site by the Fire Department and Civil Defense. There is still no confirmation as to the cause of the accident.

“The top priority of the company right now is to support the rescue efforts and to help preserve and protect the lives of direct employees, third-party employees and local communities,” the statement added.

Nineteen people were killed when the village of Bento Rodrigues, also in Minas Gerais, was destroyed when a dam owned by Samarco, a joint venture by Vale and another Brazilian company, collapsed in November 2015. In the wake of that collapse, Samarco has provided $4.4 billion in compensation to the region over the past three years, according to Vale’s annual report.

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