World, Americas

Death toll from Brazil dam collapse reaches 115

Portion of mining giant Vale’s assets frozen as compensation for victims

02.02.2019
Death toll from Brazil dam collapse reaches 115

By Muhammed Emin Canik

BUENOS AIRES

The death toll from the bursting of a tailings dam at an iron ore mining complex in southeastern Brazil has risen to 115, local media reported Saturday, citing officials.

Another 248 people were said to be missing while 71 victims of the disaster have been identified.

The dam, owned by Brazilian mining giant Vale S.A., collapsed last Friday, sending sludge and other materials into the surrounding areas, including the town of Brumadinho.

Fire department spokesman Pedro Aihara told reporters that it was getting more difficult to reach flooded areas, without giving an end-date for rescue efforts.

Located in Minas Gerais state, Brumadinho is 450 kilometers (279.6 miles) north of Rio de Janeiro.

The company’s employees were having lunch when the incident occurred.

Local media reported that state labor courts had frozen more than 800 million Brazilian reals (roughly $220 million) of Vale’s assets as compensation for the victims.

Five engineers have been arrested over the incident following protests by victims’ relatives.

Roughly 3,000 people were evacuated as a precaution when a nearby dam looked ready to burst.

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