Dramatic moment woman is pulled from the mud after Brazil dam collapse

Incredible footage shows the moment a woman was rescued from the mud by a helicopter team after a dam burst in Brazil on Friday.

Ten people have died and around 300 people are missing after the a dam that was holding back mining waste collapsed.

A clip shows rescuers plucking the woman from the sludge as they race to get to as many people as possible.

Rescuers are searching for survivors after the torrent of sludge was unleashed from the tailings dam at an iron ore mine, which is controlled by Vale SA mining company in Belo Horizonte.

Vale boss Fabio Schvartsman said 300 employees were working at the time of the incident and about 100 have been accounted for.

He added that rescue efforts were under way to determine what has happened to the others.

Mr Schvartsman told a news conference that "the principal victims were our own workers", adding that the restaurant where many ate "was buried by the mud at lunchtime".

"Unfortunately, at this point, the chances of finding survivors are minimal. We’re likely to just be rescuing bodies," Romeu Zema, governor of the mining-intensive state of Minas Gerais where the disaster struck, told local press.


The death toll was expected to rise sharply, according to Avimar de Melo Barcelos, mayor of the town of Brumadinho located near the mine. The cause of the rupture is not known.

Rescuers have mapped out four points where people still could be found alive, including the cafeteria buried in sludge around lunchtime, a police spokesman said.

Search dogs were being flown in from Rio de Janeiro. All of those missing are Vale employees or contractors, the spokesman said.

Renato SimÃo de Oliveiras was searching hospitals and with police for his brother, who had worked for Vale for 6 years, and was despairing at the lack of information.

"I heard about it when I was at work. I called him several times but couldn’t get a hold of him," the 32 year old said.

"We’re lost, we don’t know anything."


Fire brigade spokesman Lieutenant Pedro Aihara said two lower dams gave way after the bigger one burst.

Aerial footage and images show how cars and vehicles have been swept away by the mud, which could be contaminated.

The state is still recovering from the collapse of a larger dam that killed 19 people in November 2015 in what was considered Brazil’s worst environmental disaster.

That dam, owned by the Samarco Mineracao SA joint venture between Vale and BHP Group Ltd, buried a village and poured toxic waste into a major river.

President Jair Bolsonaro was set to visit Minas Gerais and fly over the disaster area on Saturday morning, after dispatching three ministers there on Friday.

Vale Chief Executive Fabio Schvartsman said the dam that burst on Friday at the Feijao iron mine was being decommissioned and its capacity was about a fifth of the total waste spilled at Samarco.

He said equipment had shown the dam was stable on Jan. 10 and it was too soon to say why it collapsed.

The Feijao mine is one of four in Vale’s Paraoeba complex, which includes two processing plants and produced 26 million tonnes of iron ore in 2017, or about 7 percent of Vale’s total output, according to information on the company’s website.

Schvartsman declined to comment on how output would be affected.

Operations at Samarco remain halted over new licensing, while the companies have worked to pay damages out of court, including an agreement that quashed a 20 billion reais [£4 billion] civil lawsuit last year. Federal prosecutors suspended but have still not closed an even larger lawsuit.

Brazil’s National Mining Agency today ordered Vale SA to suspend operations at its Corrego de Feijao iron ore mining facility.

State prosecutors have also entered a motion to freeze 5 billion reais (£985 million) in Vale’s accounts for handling damages, state prosecutor Antonio Sergio Tonet told reporters, adding that he expects more funds to be frozen in the future.

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