The Latest: Brazil seeks dam collapse victims; toll at 58
BRUMADINHO, Brazil (AP) — The latest on the deadly mine waste dam collapse in southeastern Brazil (all times local):
The Civil Defense office in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais has raised the number of confirmed deaths in a dam collapse to 58.
More than 300 people are still missing after iron ore waste from a mine that flooded the southeastern city of Brumadinho on Friday.
Brazilian officials resumed the search the missing Sunday after briefly suspending it amid fears that a second dam was at risk of breach.
Rescue workers say areas of water-soaked mud appear to be drying out, which could help firefighters get to areas previously unreachable. The death toll is expected to rise.
Brazilian officials have resumed the search for hundreds of missing people in the wake of a massive dam collapse, with firefighter crews returning to mud-covered areas after a several-hour suspension over fears that a second dam was at risk of breach.
Authorities had evacuated several neighborhoods in the southeastern city of Brumadinho that were within range of the B6 dam owned by the Brazilian mining company Vale. An estimated 24,000 people were told to get to higher ground, but by the afternoon, civil engineers said the second dam was no longer at risk.
Authorities on Sunday also lowered the confirmed death toll to 37 from 40, though they did not explain why. And that number is expected to increase as rescue and recovery teams got to the hardest hit areas.
Pope Francis is offering prayers and solidarity for the victims of the Brazilian dam collapse.
Francis spoke out about the tragedy on Sunday while he was wrapping up a visit to Panama for World Youth Day.
In a blessing, Francis appealed for God’s mercy for all those who were killed “and at the same time I express my love and spiritual closeness to their relatives and the entire population of Minas Gerais state.”
Brazilian officials on Sunday suspended the search for potential survivors of the dam collapse that killed at least 40 people amid fears that another nearby dam owned by the same company was also at risk of breaching.
Brazilian officials have suspended the search for potential survivors of a dam collapse amid fears that another dam owned by the same mining company was at risk of breaking as well.
Authorities on Sunday are evacuating several neighborhoods in the city of Brumadinho that are within range of the B6 dam.
Pedro Ahiara, spokesman for the firefighters in the state of Minas Gerais, says “the risk of a breaking continues.”
Even before the latest news, hope that loved ones had survived a tsunami of iron ore mine waste from a dam collapse in Brazil was turning to anguish and anger over the increasing likelihood that hundreds of people had died.
By Saturday night, when authorities called off rescue efforts until daybreak, the dam collapse toll stood at 40 dead with up to 300 people estimated to be missing.
The Israeli military says a search-and-rescue delegation has left for to Brazil to assist the victims of a mining waste dam collapse.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus says a delegation of 130 men and women is on its way Sunday to the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte.
He says the delegation is expected to stay for a week and will look for survivors after the collapse of a dam holding back mining waste. As of Saturday night, the death toll in the dam collapse stood at 40 dead with up to 300 people estimated to be missing.
Conricus says his delegation includes K-9 forces, firefighters and a special underwater unit.
The military is responding to an order from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who offered the aid to his close ally, new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Hope that loved ones had survived a tsunami of iron ore mine waste from a dam collapse in Brazil was turning to anguish and anger over the increasing likelihood that many of the hundreds of people missing had died.
By Saturday night, when authorities called off rescue efforts until day break, the death toll stood at 40 dead with up to 300 people estimated to be missing. Throughout the day, helicopters flew low over areas buried by mud and firefighters worked to get to structures by digging.
Sonia Fatima da Silva was among the scores in the city of Brumadinho trying to get information about their relatives. Her son has been a Vale mining company employee for 20 years. She says “I’m angry ... my hope is that they be honest. I want news, even if it’s bad.”
Da Silva said she last spoke to her son before he went to work on Friday, when around midday a dam holding back mine waste collapsed, sending waves of mud for kilometers (miles) and burying much in its path.
Romeu Zema, governor of Minas Gerais state, says most recovery efforts now would entail pulling out bodies.