Dam collapse toll at Brazilian mine rises; 300 missing
One woman searching for her husband collapsed on the floor. Another clutched a photo of her missing daughter and a third shouted at volunteers: “To you, he is just someone you can substitute. But he is my husband, the father of my daughter!”
Scenes of desperation played out at a local school Saturday in the Brazilian town of Brumadinho where hundreds of people waited as rescue workers dug through mud and sludge searching for survivors a day after a mining dam collapse in southeastern Brazil left at least 34 dead and almost 300 missing.
More than 24 hours after the deadliest mining accident in Brazil’s history, official information was scarce. The Civil Defense office said 199 people had been rescued by emergency workers, but only 23 of their names were tacked on the walls of the makeshift crisis center.
The dam at an open-pit mining complex is owned by Brazilian iron ore mining company Vale. The disaster in Brumadinho comes just over three years after a dam burst in the city of Mariana, 75 miles away, resulting in 19 deaths.
The current calamity is the first major crisis for the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right leader who promised to pare back enforcement of environmental regulations and to open up protected areas to the mining industry.
The dam ruptured shortly after midday Friday, burying nearby homes and a company cafeteria in a torrent of sludge. Hopes that more survivors would be found were fading fast Saturday.
Friends and relatives comfort themselves as they wait for information about those who disappeared after a dam collapse in Brumadinho, Brazil on Saturday.