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Rescuers search for 19 missing after dams burst

Published:Sunday | November 8, 2015 | 11:00 AM

MARIANA, (AP):

Searchers used small aeroplanes and a drone yesterday to look for 19 people confirmed as missing following the burst of two dams inside an iron ore mine, while authorities lowered the official death count to one.

The fire department said officials were now not sure that a second body, which was found 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the site of the accident, was a victim. It said those missing included 13 mine workers and six residents of a nearby village that was overrun with mud and water.

Bras Azevedo, secretary of social defence in the nearby city of Mariana, told The Associated Press that authorities had to be cautious in sorting out exactly how many people were missing or dead. "There are still people in isolated areas; they could be the ones we are looking for," he said.

The flood of mud came without warning last Thursday afternoon when two dams breached for reasons that investigators had not yet determined.