The Latest: Company that inspected Brazil dam works on probe

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BRUMADINHO, Brazil (AP) — The Latest on that collapse of an iron ore mining company’s dam in Brazil (all times local):

7:55 p.m.

Officials say the death toll from the mine dam collapse in Brazil has increased to 65 people and that 279 people are missing.

The death toll earlier Monday stood at 60.

Lt. Col. Flavio Godinho of the Minas Gerais state civil defense department also told reporters Monday that 192 people have been rescued, a number that has not changed since an earlier announcement about those rescued.

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Officials have said they expect the death toll to rise “exponentially.”

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7:45 p.m.

Brazilian mining company Vale says it is giving emergency funding of $26,000 each families of victims of the company mine collapse that killed at least 60 people and left nearly 300 missing.

Vale executive Luciano Siani told reporters Monday that the company is handing out the money “so families are immediately provided for, to give them some relief.”

Siana says the emergency funding will be provided to families with relatives confirmed dead and families with missing relatives.

He says Vale is also sending to the disaster site a team of psychologists that specializes in catastrophe trauma to help families.

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6:20 p.m.

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A Catholic priest for a church now being used as a command center for officials trying to rescue people after a mining company dam burst says many of the church’s parishioners are believed to be buried in mud.

Priest Rene Lopez says the community of Brumadinho will rebuild “but it will be harder to rebuild our hearts.”

He called the massive mud and debris flow that inundated much of the town last Friday “an open wound for all of the people in Brumadinho.”

At least 60 people died, nearly 300 are missing and officials said Monday that they believe the death toll will go much higher.

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5:10 p.m.

Brazilian mining company Vale says a lawyer who said the company’s board of directors would not step down following a mine collapse that killed at least 60 people was not authorized to speak for the world’s largest iron ore producer.

Monday’s statement came after Vale lawyer Sergio Berdumes said in an interview in the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that “no wrongdoing has been proven.” He also told the newspaper that “there was no negligence.”

Vale says the company’s board is trying to discover the facts of what happened following the collapse of the dam at an iron ore complex, which buried buildings owned by Vale and inundated neighborhoods.

Officials in Minas Gerais state say nearly 300 people are missing following the collapse of the dam last Friday and that the death toll is expected to grow “exponentially.”

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4 p.m.

Shares of big Brazilian mining company Vale SA have plummeted following a mine collapse that killed at least 60 people and left nearly 300 missing.

The company’s American depository shares on the New York Stock Exchange were down 17.6 percent in Monday afternoon trading, to $11.26 each.

A treacherous sea of reddish-brown mud that surged out Friday when the iron ore mine’s dam breached is up to 24 feet (8 meters) deep in some places.

Sen. Renan Calheiros is calling for Vale’s board of directors to step down and Attorney General Raquel Dodge says that Vale executives could be held responsible.

The company is the world’s largest producer of iron ore, the raw ingredient for making steel.

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2 p.m.

Firefighters say the death toll from a Brazilian mine dam collapse has risen to 60, with 292 people still missing.

In an ominous sign, nobody was recovered alive Sunday.

The slow pace of search efforts is due to the treacherous sea of reddish-brown mud that surged out when the mine dam breached Friday afternoon. It is up 24 feet (8 meters) deep in some places.

Meanwhile, anger is growing at the company that operates the mine.

Sen. Renan Calheiros is calling for Vale’s board of directors to step down and Attorney General Raquel Dodge says that Vale executives could be held responsible.

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7:15 a.m.

A German company that last year inspected the dam in Brazil that collapsed Friday says it’s working with authorities investigating the deadly disaster in which at least 58 people died.

TUEV Sued, based in Munich, confirmed Monday that it had conducted a periodic review of dams for Brazilian mining company Vale in July 2018 and a regular inspection of dam safety in September last year.

The company declined to provide further details about the reviews, which were commissioned by Vale. But TUEV Sued said it was “fully supporting the investigations and making all required documents available to the investigating authorities.”

Brazilian authorities say up to 300 people are still missing after iron ore waste from a mine that flooded the mine complex and nearby neighborhoods in the southeastern city of Brumadinho.

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2 a.m.

Firefighters in Brazil are carefully moving over treacherous mud, sometimes even crawling, in search of survivors or bodies left by a dam collapse that buried mine buildings and surrounding neighborhoods with iron ore waste.

The confirmed death toll rose to 58 late Sunday, with up to 300 people still missing, according to authorities. In an ominous sign, nobody was recovered alive Sunday, a stark difference from the first two days of the disaster, when helicopters were whisking people from the mud.

A treacherous sea of reddish-brown mud that surged out when the mine’s dam breached Friday afternoon is up to 24 feet (8 meters) deep in some places.

Search efforts were suspended about 10 hours Sunday because of fears that a second mine dam in the southeastern city of Brumadinho was at risk of failing. An estimated 24,000 people were told to get to higher ground.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

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