Brazil dam toll hits 65

(190128) -- BRUMADINHO, Jan. 28, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on Jan. 27, 2019 shows a truck in mud at the area affected by the collapse of a tailings dam, near the town of Brumadinho, the state of Minas Gerias, Brazil. The death toll from Brazil's collapsed tailings dam climbed to 58, with 305 people still missing in southeast Brazil's Minas Gerais state, said local authorities. (Xinhua/Li Ming)

Brasilia, ┬áThe death toll in the mining dam collapse in Brazil’s Minas Gerais state has reached 65, authorities have said.

Rescuers have been trying to recover bodies and search for survivors following the January 25 collapse of a tailings dam in the town of Brumadinho, Xinhua news agency reported.

Even three days after the humanitarian and environmental tragedy, the chances of finding people alive still appear remote, the authorities said.

About 279 people have gone missing, and over half of them were employees of the mining giant Vale, which owns the iron ore mine. Some residents of the area were also unaccounted for.

A large number of employees were having lunch in a company cafeteria located just below the dam when it burst and unleashed a flow of toxic mud.

Rescuers believe the flow of mud have swept the cafeteria and a hotel away, making them difficult to be located.

A team of Israeli rescue workers arrived at the site on Sunday to help. The 136-member team came with sniffer dogs and 16 tons of equipment.

Brazilian courts have frozen about $2.9 billion in Vale’s assets to ensure funds were available to indemnify victims even as the company’s legal team said it bore no responsibility for the dam’s rupture.

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