FRANCO DA ROCHA NEWS, 24 DE NOVEMBRO DE 2015 - 24 DE NOVEMBRO DE 2015 - 14H39
Brazil dam disaster missing unlikely to be found alive: Governor
A firefighter walks in the mud in Bento Rodrigues, three days after an avalanche of mud and mining sludge buried the town in southeastern Brazil, on November 8, 2015. (AFP PHOTO)
"It's a disaster, a tragedy of great dimension ... Hopes of finding survivors is fading," Fernando Pimentel, the governor of the state of Minas Gerais, where the dams burst, told reporters on Sunday, adding, "One lost human life would be irreparable - imagine 28."
Pimentel was quoted by the Rio de Janeiro newspaper O Globo as saying that 15 village residents and 13 mine workers are listed as missing while one person has been confirmed dead.
Pimentel said that it is unclear why the the two dams at the Samarco mine failed.
The number of missing has been revised several times. Authorities had earlier said that 19 people were missing. On another occasion, they said that 23 people were unaccounted for.
Local officials had also previously expressed hope that survivors might still be holed up in some isolated areas.
Nonetheless, the search for survivors resumed on Sunday morning despite rainy conditions that have been hampering rescue operations.
Rescue workers say the wet mud, which can act like quicksand, threatens their lives.
Meanwhile, the state fire department said on its Twitter account that two additional bodies had been found and sent to the coroner's office for identification; however, it added, that "it has not been confirmed they are victims of the disaster." In a later tweet, the fire department added a third body had been located in the area on Sunday and workers were working to remove it from the mud.
On Thursday, the Santarem dam in the Germano complex collapsed along with the rupturing of the Fundao dam at the Samarco iron ore mine. The collapse caused flooding in the nearby hamlet of Bento Rodrigues, which was covered by red mud and residue from the mine.
This AFP image taken on November 8, 2015, shows a partial view of mud-covered village of Bento Rodrigues, three days after an avalanche of mud and mining sludge buried the town in southeastern Brazil. (AFP Photo)
The mud from the dams then spread to other nearby towns, causing flooding there as well.
The contaminated mud, which is said to be filled with mine wastes, has also poured into a river in the area, polluting the water supply of several cities.
Samarco, which is jointly owned by the Brazilian mining company Vale and Australia's BHP Billiton, insists that the mud is not toxic and does not endanger human lives.
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