Brazil dam collapse: Death toll rises to 58, over 300 missing

Of the 58 victims, 19 have been identified. 

Brazil dam collapse: Death toll rises to 58, over 300 missing

Rio de Janeiro: The death toll from Brazil`s collapsed tailings dam climbed to 58, with 305 people still missing in southeast Brazil`s Minas Gerais state, said local authorities.

Of the 58 victims, 19 have been identified. 

The missing people include residents of the destroyed area and workers from Brazilian mining company Vale, according to the state fire department, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

The collapsed dam at Vale SA`s Corrego do Feijao mine buried mining facilities and nearby homes in the town of Brumadinho, killing dozens and leaving the community in shock.

"Until the last body is found, the fire department is acting on the possibility there could be people alive," Aihara told reporters. "Obviously, given the nature of the accident, as time passes, this chance will go down."

After announcing the latest number of confirmed dead, state civil defense agency spokesman Flavio Godinho told reporters he expected the death toll to continue rising.

Just over 300 people were still missing, with the list of those unaccounted for being constantly updated, Godinho said. Most of the missing are presumed dead, officials said.

The cause of the dam burst remained unclear. Recent inspections did not indicate any problems, according to the German firm that conducted the inspection. 

Avimar de Melo Barcelos, the mayor of Brumadinho, blasted Vale for being "careless and incompetent," and blamed the mining company for the tragedy and the state of Minas Gerais for poor oversight. He vowed to fine the miner 100 million reais ($26.5 million).