The death toll from the collapse of a dam holding back mining waste in southeastern Brazil has risen to 121, rescue officials said Saturday. Another 226 people are missing.
Lt. Pedro Aihara of the Minas Gerais state Fire Department said that some bodies may never be found under the tons of mud that swept through a rural area of Brumadinho.
Aihara said the recovery mission will last more than a month and that no date has been set on when to call it off. He added that environmental conditions and the decomposition of the bodies found will help determine when the search will end.
No one has been found alive since the day after the Jan. 25 collapse.
Aihara said rescue teams were focusing on an area believed to have been occupied by a locker room used by employees of mining company Vale SA.
“We believe a large number of victims will be found in this area,” he said.
In the coming days, heavy equipment and sniffer dogs will be used in areas where bodies are believed to be buried under tons of hardened mud, he said.