New video captures moment of deadly dam collapse in Brazil

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By Katy Dartford
New video captures moment of deadly dam collapse in Brazil
Copyright  REUTERS/Adriano Machado

The moment a powerful wave of toxic waste began sweeping over everything in its path has been captured on video.

The collapse of a dam at an iron ore mine in southern Brazil a week ago has left at least 115 people dead and around 250 missing.

The cause of what could be Brazil's deadliest mine disaster was likely to have been parts of the sand and dried-mud structure dissolving into liquid, said the state regulator in an interview. This is similar to what caused another deadly mining disaster less than four years ago.

An investigation is underway, he added.

The burst tailings dam at the Corrego do Feijao mine last Friday has ignited intense public anger against mine owners, Vale SA, which was co-owner of Samarco, the previous dam that collapsed.

A ceremony was held at the site of the disaster around 1 pm local time, the hour at which the dam breached.

Excavators stopped digging in the mud, and rescuers looking for survivors in the thick mine tailings all looked to the sky as ten fire department and police helicopters released flower petals onto the iron ore mining complex.

An official said that authorities were not calling off the search for bodies although no one had been found alive since Saturday.

Edvan Cristi, 23, who lost several friends who worked for the Vale mining company, said the city will now suffer tremendously, as the majority of young people worked in mining.

"Everybody, the majority worked in mining," he said.

Vale SA says the 12 million cubic metres of residues that were released into the Paraopeba river did not have dangerous levels of metals, but experts say the impact on the environment could be irreversible.