As many as 200 people are missing after three dams operated by the mining giant Vale collapsed in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, releasing a wave of red mining waste and prompting fears of widespread contamination.
At least 50 people died in the disaster on Friday, Avimar de Melo, mayor of the nearby town of Brumadinho told the Hoje em Dia newspaper. “We don’t have any more details because it’s all happening very quickly,” he said.
Brazilian television showed images of survivors being winched to safety by a helicopter after the disaster at the Feijão mine near Brumadinho, less than two hours from the state capital, Belo Horizonte.
Among those missing were 100 mine workers who were having lunch in an administrative area when it was hit by a torrent of sludge and water, said a fire brigade spokesman, Lieutenant Pedro Aihara.
“Our main worry now is to quickly find out where the missing people are,” Aihara said on GloboNews cable television channel.
Videos shared on social media showed houses buried in the mud and local media reported that the nearby Inhotim outdoor art complex had been evacuated though not affected.
The dam collapse came less than four years after Brazil’s worst environmental disaster was caused by the failure of a tailings dam at Mariana in the same state. That dam was operated by Samarco, which at the time of the disaster was half-owned by Vale.
“I don’t have words to describe my suffering, my enormous sadness, my disappointment in what has just happened. It is beyond anything you can imagine,” Vale’s CEO, Fabio Schvartsman, said in an address on YouTube.
He said the company had made an “enormous effort” to make its tailings dams safe after the Mariana disaster. “The whole of Vale will do whatever is possible to help the people affected,” he said.
UK police say they have made two arrests in connection with criminal drone activity at Gatwick Airport, and urged the public and passengers around the airport to remain vigilant. Britain's second-largest airport reopened on Friday after a mystery saboteur wrought 36 hours of travel chaos for more than 100,000 Christmas travellers by using drones to play cat-and-mouse with police snipers and the army. [...] The defence ministry refused to comment on what technology was deployed, but drone experts said airports needed to deploy specialist radar reinforced by thermal imaging technology to detect such unmanned flying vehicles.
A 47-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman, from Crawley, were arrested in the town at about 22:00 GMT on Friday.
Previously: Army Called in Amid UK Drone Chaos (Updated)
Heavy.com reports that there have been a number of email bomb threats sent out demanding blackmail payments in bitcoin. An example of one message follows:
"Good day. My mercenary has carried the bomb (lead azide) into the building where your business is conducted. My mercenary built the explosive device under my direction. It can be hidden anywhere because of its small size, it is impossible to destroy the supporting building structure by this explosive device, but if it denotates there will be many wounded people.
My recruited person is watching the situation around the building. If he notices any suspicious activity, panic or cops the device will be blown up.
I can call off my man if you make a transfer 20,000 usd is the price for your safety and business. Transfer it to me in Bitcoin and I assure that I have to withdraw my mercenary and the bomb will not detonate. But do not try to deceive me – my guarantee will become valid only after 3 confirmations in blockchain."
So does this sound like somebody who speaks English natively? Can you predict where this is coming from? Can you predict what kind of person sent this? Can you predict what kind of mess this is going to create? Who are you betting is really behind this?