A breach in a levee at an iron ore mine Thursday in southern Brazil has left 17 people dead and another 20 missing, according to news reports.
A levee failure unleashed a mudslide that flooded part of Bento Rodriguez, a village about 250 kilometres north of Rio de Janeiro, the news portal Estadao reported. More than 70 residents were injured.
The levee held back a settling pit at a Samarco iron ore mine. The damage destroyed a large portion of the village, which had a population of 500, news reports said.
The city prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation. Samarco, which lists itself as the 10th-largest export company in Brazil, belongs in equal parts to the Brazilian firm Vale and the Australian firm BHP Billiton.