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A Tidal Wave of Mud

February 21, 2019
The New York Times /

 — Luiz de Castro was installing lamps at a mining complex in Brazil late last month when a loud blast split the air. He figured it was just a truck tire popping, but a friend knew better.

“No, it’s not that!” the friend said. “Run!”

Dashing up a staircase, caked in mud and pelted by flying rocks, Mr. Castro clambered to safety. But as he watched, a wall of mud unleashed by the collapse of a mining dam swallowed his co-workers, he said. Tiago, George, Icaro — they and at least 154 others, all buried alive.

The deluge of toxic mud stretched for five miles, crushing homes, offices and people — a tragedy, but hardly a surprise, experts say.