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Mining Dam Collapses in Southeastern Brazil, One Confirmed Dead and Many Missing

11/06/2015 - 09h22

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FROM SÃO PAULO

A tailing dam at an iron ore mine burst on Thursday (5), in Mariana (124 km from Belo Horizonte), in Minas Gerais State.

The mudslide dragged cars and trucks, covering almost all the houses of the subdistrict where the dam is located and left residents stranded.

The mine is operated by Samarco Mineração SA. According to Sérgio de Moura, director of Metabase, the Mine Workers Union of Mariana, 25 workers are missing.

A company employee who was at the dam at the time of the burst died after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Moura said that at least 15 wounded were admitted to hospital, most without major injuries. Family members gather there in search of news.

The accident occurred in the subdistrict of Bento Rodrigues (35 km from the Centre), which was totally engulfed by mudslide. Images show a car resting on top of a wall of a roofless house, also awash in mud.

According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics IBGE, there are 492 residents and 121 households in the subdistrict.

The municipality of Mariana and Samarco asked people to leave the area for safety reasons.

The Fire Department has not yet confirmed if there are trapped victims, but they informed that stranded people were rescued by a helicopter.

A Fire Department's rescue team with sniffer dogs and three cars were sent to the area.

Translated by JULIANA CALDERARI

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