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Drivers Race for Their Lives in Video of Dam Bursting

And a ceremony is held at the scene of the devastation
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2019 11:40 AM CST

(Newser) – Two terrifying videos have emerged of a Brazil dam collapsing at a mine last month and killing at least 115 people, the New York Times reports. One video, apparently shot by the Vale mining company, shows a dust cloud coming up just before the red-mud avalanche pours in, burying vehicles as they race around trying to escape. Another video, seen on local Brazilian TV, shows the dam wall sprouting cracks before it gives way to 2.5 billion gallons of red iron ore waste. The video release coincided with a ceremony held at the site of the devastation Friday afternoon, the AP reports.

At the ceremony, civil and police workers stopped their search for survivors as helicopters dropped flower petals from above and a priest gave a mass in front of a makeshift cross. "It is totally devastated; it looks like there has been a war," said a 23-year-old man who had lost friends in the collapse. Besides the known death toll, 248 remain missing, and environmental damage includes the Paraopeba River turning a dark orange; villagers say they can no longer bathe or fish in it. The mud is still moving at roughly half a mile an hour toward another river, but officials say they hope the Retiro Baixo hydroelectric dam and plant complex will stop the wave from polluting it. (Read more about the devastation.)

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