A newly released video shows the devastating power of a mudslide in Brazil at the moment a mining dam burst.
The dam burst on January 25 in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, killing 115. At least 248 people are still missing.
The video, which appears to have been shot from a crane, shows the mud flowing over a mining operation towards vehicles as they desperately try to escape.
The burst tailings dam at the Corrego do Feijao mine last Friday has ignited intense public anger against mining company Vale.
A newly released video shows the devastating power of a mudslide in Brazil
Vehicles (far right) race to escape as the powerful flow of mud sweeps toward them
The dam burst on January 25 in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, killing 115
Satellite images provided by shows fields and farm homes near Brumadinho, Brazil both before (left) and after (right) a devastating mudslide swept through the area
Around 2,000 people gathered in Belo Horizonte, capital of the mining-intensive state of Minas Gerais which was home to both disasters, to protest against Vale, with some saying its top executives should be jailed.
‘I lost three of my students,’ said Aparecida Moreira, a teacher at a local law school. ‘They are dead, and we don’t know where their bodies are.’
There were also demands for a congressional investigation.
The disaster poses a headache for the new government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, whose new business-friendly administration must juggle public anger over the tragedy and its own desire to ease mining and environmental regulations to kick-start growth.
On Friday, a week after the dam collapse, dozens paid homage Friday to the victims.
A ceremony was held at the site of the disaster around 1pm local time, the hour at which the dam breached on January 25, unleashing a destructive torrent of reddish-brown mining waste.
Minas Gerais Firefighters conduct a searching operation using heavy machines
A view of the Brazilian mining company Vale SA collapsed, in Brumadinho, Brazil on Friday
A rescue worker reacts as he attends a mass for victims of a collapsed tailings dam
Chewbacca, a rescue dog of Santa Catarina state Firefighters Rescue Unit searches for victims at Corrego do Feijao, where last January 25, a dam collapsed at an iron-ore mine
Rescue workers attend a mass for victims of a collapsed tailings dam owned by Vale
Minas Gerais Firefighters keep on searching for victims at Corrego do Feijao on Thursday
Backhoes stopped digging in the mud, and rescuers looking for survivors in the thick mine tailings all looked to the sky, as 10 fire department and police helicopters released flower petals on the iron ore mining complex.
A priest also gave a brief Mass in front of a tall pink cross that had been planted in the mud.
‘It is totally devastated; it looks like there has been a war,’ said 23-year-old Edvan Cristi, who lost friends who worked at the mine.
In one video obtained by The Associated Press, cars can be seen driving around desperately trying to escape as a gush of mud approaches with dramatic strength.
A spokesman for the Minas Gerais Fire Department said after the ceremony that authorities were not calling off the search for bodies although no one had been found alive since Saturday.
On Friday, operations seemed to enter a new phase as firefighters began excavating the mud with heavy machinery. So far, efforts have been focused on finding bodies closer to the surface and did not involve backhoes.
Helicopters hover over an iron ore mining complex to release thousands of flower petals paying homage to the 110 victims killed and 238 who are still missing on Friday
A protester covered in mud and holding a sign reading “Vale murderer” takes part in a demonstration in front of the Se Cathedral in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday
A protester covered in mud performs in a demonstration in front of the Se Cathedral
A monk participates in a demonstration against mining giant Vale on Friday in Sao Paulo
The mayor of the nearby city of Brumadinho, Avimar de Melo Barcelos, told reporters that his municipality remained deeply disrupted because main roads were still blocked by mud. He said rural residents, who account for about 40 percent of the municipality, could not reach the city center.
Aside from the human tragedy, de Melo Barcelos stressed that the city would need financial help from the federal government as nearly 35 percent of taxes collected for the municipality come from mining activities.
‘We are a mining town. If we lose that 35 percent of tax collection, we’re not going to be able to attend to basic social services,’ the mayor said, citing costs related to health and education.
The tailings, which contain toxic levels of iron oxide, plastered 623 acres of Brumadinho and the Paraopeba River.
Vale SA, the company that ran and operated the dam, said the residues did not have dangerous levels of metals, but experts argue that the impact on the environment could be irreversible.
Authorities and environmental organizations have begun testing water quality around the mining complex, while state and federal authorities have told residents to refrain from using water directly from the Paraopeba or 109 yards around it.
Residents march in memory for victims of a collapsed tailings dam owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA, in Brumadinho, Brazil on Friday
Friends and relatives hold signs with the names of victims, during a march paying homage to the victims of a mining dam collapse a week ago, in Brumadinho, Brazil on Friday
Residents light candles during a service in memory for victims of a collapsed tailings dam
Friends and relatives light candles during a march paying homage to the victims of a mining dam collapse a week ago, in Brumadinho, Brazil on Friday
Residents attend a service in memory for victims of a collapsed tailings dam on Friday
The Paraopeba River flows into the much larger Sao Francisco River, which could also be contaminated.
Hundreds of municipalities and larger cities such as Petrolina, 870 miles from Brumadinho, get drinking water from the Sao Francisco River.
The wave of mud is currently moving toward the Sao Francisco at about 0.62 mph, but officials hope the Retiro Baixo hydroelectric dam and plant complex about 185 miles from Brumadinho will prevent the mud from contaminating it.
The tailing is expected to reach the Retiro Baixo dam between February 5 and February 10.
A peaceful walk in homage to the victims took place on Friday evening in Brumadinho.
Dressed in white, hundreds of mourners took part in the commemorative march through the city.
Relatives and friends of the victims set up an altar, leaving flowers and lighting candles along with notes of the names of the dead.
‘This tragedy will be remembered not just here but all over Brazil,’ said 23-year-old Jonatan Silva Santos, who lost friends that worked at Vale. ‘This city is small, each person that we lost is like a member of our family.’