Brazilian firefighters said on Saturday that at least 40 people were killed when a dam burst at an iron ore mine owned by Vale, as rescuers continued to search for hundreds still missing.
The Minas Gerais state fire department also said 23 people have been hospitalised after the dam released a torrent of mud on Friday, leaving a roughly 150-metre-wide wake of destruction.
In an earlier statement, the department had said 300 people were still missing and 46 had been found alive.
Firefighters focused their hopes for finding survivors on a bus, a train, mining offices and nearby homes that were buried on Friday in mud after the dam break at Vale’s Corrego do Feijao facility in Minas Gerais state.
Frantic family members of the missing crowded into a warehouse set up by Vale for those affected, next to a stretch of river now demolished by the sludge.
More than a dozen helicopters helping to survey the area took off and landed from a football field nearby.