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Video: 'Toxic' red mud engulfs Brazilian town after dam burst

France 24 screen grab | Vehicles sumbmerged by water and clay-red mud near Bento Rodrigues after the dam burst

A dam burst at an iron ore mine in southeastern Brazil, flooding a small town nearby and submerging homes and vehicles. At least one body has been recovered and authorities said an unknown number of people were missing.

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Rescue teams were searching for bodies or survivors from Thursday's disaster. Residents living in an area downhill from the dam were told to evacuate to higher ground.

The Civil Defense agency of Minas Gerais state said one body had been recovered but officials had yet to determine how many people were missing.

Police, firefighters and local officials said they could not confirm any reported death tolls or victims.

Images from Globo TV showed the area of the operation overrun with water and clay-red mud, with large vehicles tossed on their sides.

A small cluster of homes and about 400 people live in the small town of Bento Rodrigues, about 7 kilometers (just over 4 miles) beneath the dam that burst. Images showed the town flooded with mud and water.

Authorities said the dam was built to hold back water and residue from mining operations, a mixture that can often be toxic.

The Samarco mining company said in a statement on its website that it was making "every effort to prioritize care to people and mitigate damage to the environment."

(AP)

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