Hundreds missing after dam collapse covers Brumadinho, Brazil, in mud

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Survivors were pulled from the muddy torrent after the dam collapsed

"Most likely, from now on we are mostly going to be recovering bodies", said Romeu Zema, the governor of the state of Minas Gerais.

An AFP photographer viewing the zone from the air described tractors, houses and a bridge submerged in mud, and emergency crews using earth-moving machinery to search for survivors.

Firefighters in Brazil are searching for about 200 people missing after a dam at an iron ore mine burst.

A story by the BBC Friday evening quoted the mayor of Brumadinho as saying seven bodies have been recovered so far, and at least 50 people have been killed.

Members of the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources inspect the disaster caused by the breakage of the dam.

A fireman told Reuters that some 100 Vale SA employees among the missing were at lunch in the area at time of the disaster.

Vale said spillage from the dam, which was connected to the mine, had reached the company's administrative area and part of the community of Vila Ferteco.

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.

It is not clear what caused the collapse of the dam, which is owned by Brazil's largest mining company, Vale.

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"We will take all the possible steps to minimize the suffering of families and victims", Bolsonaro said in a speech, which he posted on Twitter.

Many other residents have been evacuated as a safety measure.

The state judiciary also froze more than $260 million from Vale, with a presiding judge citing the company's responsibility for the disaster.

"Where are our relatives?" wailed Raquel Cristina, one of several people demanding information about their missing kin in the mud-hit area. In the wake of that collapse, Samarco has provided $4.4 billion in compensation to the region over the past three years, according to Vale's annual report.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro expressed condolences, and announced that the MInisters of Regional Development and Mines and Energy, as well as the country's Civil Defense chief have been sent to the area.

Schartzman said what happened Friday was "a human tragedy much larger than the tragedy of Mariana, but probably the environmental damage will be less". Brazilian paper Folha de S.Paulo tweeted a video showing a river of mud.

It said the incidents "are not accidents but environmental crimes that must be investigated, punished and repaired".

On 5 November 2015, a dam - also owned by Vale, along with BHP Billiton - burst at a Samarco mine in Mariana.

Brumadinho and its surrounding area was hard for rescuers to access.

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