Toll in Brazil dam disaster rises to 115 dead

People light candles during a vigil after a tailings dam owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA collapsed in Brumadinho Brazil

People light candles during a vigil after a tailings dam owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA collapsed in Brumadinho Brazil

The death toll from a dam collapse last week at a mine in southeast Brazil has risen to 121 dead and 226 missing, officials said Saturday.

The footage shows the wall of sludge and mud approaching from the dam, with vehicles seen moving around attempting to avoid it, before being covered by the mud.

A number of experts and legislators claim that lax regulations and chronic short staffing made the devastating collapse of the dam in southeastern Brazil all but destined to happen.

This is the second dam disaster in three years to hit Brazilian mining company Vale.

The dam break killed at least 110 people on January 25, and there is an ongoing search for hundreds still listed as missing.

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Authorities and environmental organisations have begun testing water quality around the mining complex, while Brazil's state and federal authorities have told residents not to use water directly from the Paraopeba or 100m around it.

The wave of mud is now moving toward the Sao Francisco at about 1km/h but officials hope the Retiro Baixo hydroelectric dam and plant complex about 300km from Brumadinho will prevent the mud from contaminating it.

A Reuters story Friday quoted a state regulator as saying the cause of the Brumadinho collapse is likely the same as in 2015: sand and mud holding up the structure dissolved into liquid, creating a toxic and deadly wave of debris.

Edvan Cristi, 23, who lost several friends who worked for the Vale mining company, said the city would suffer tremendously because most young people worked in mining.

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