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Vale Dam Collapses in Southeastern Brazil

Fri January 25, 2019 - National Edition
Associated Press


Brazilian mining company Vale SA said in a statement that it didn’t yet have information on deaths or injuries at the dam in Minas Gerais state, but said that tailings have reached the community of Vila Ferteco and an administrative office.
Brazilian mining company Vale SA said in a statement that it didn’t yet have information on deaths or injuries at the dam in Minas Gerais state, but said that tailings have reached the community of Vila Ferteco and an administrative office.

SAO PAULO (AP) — A mining dam collapsed in southeastern Brazil on Jan. 25, flooding a nearby community and raising fears of widespread contamination.

Brazilian mining company Vale SA said in a statement that it didn't yet have information on deaths or injuries at the dam in Minas Gerais state, but said that tailings have reached the community of Vila Ferteco and an administrative office. Parts of the city were evacuated and local firefighters were rescuing people by helicopter and ground vehicles.

Local television channel TV Record showed a firefighter's helicopter hovering inches off the ground as it hoisted a woman covered in mud out of the sludge.

Another local TV channel showed a video shot by firefighters arriving on the scene showing an extensive area covered in mud.

President Jair Bolsonaro sent a tweet saying he lamented the incident and was sending the three cabinet ministers to the area.

Another dam administered by Vale and Australian mining company BHP Billiton collapsed in Mariana, Minas Gerais, in 2015, resulting in 19 deaths and dislocating hundreds from their homes. It's considered the worst environmental disaster in Brazilian history.

Vale is Brazil's largest mining company. Two hours after the accident, Vale stocks fell 10 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.