November 6, 2015 9:00 AM EST

A dam holding residue from an iron ore mine has burst in Brazil, flooding the surrounding area and possibly killing at least one person.

Rescuers are now attempting to find possible survivors of the accident in Minas Gerais State, with Brazilian news outlets reporting at least one death and union officials saying the number of casualties could be as high as 15, the New York Times reports. Photographs of the damage showed mud surrounding homes and cars in hard hit neighborhoods. It is unclear what caused the dam to burst, but a prosecutor in the state said investigators would use “rigor in determining what happened.”

Samarco, the mining company that manages the dam, said it would work to help victims and protect against environmental damage—though one official in the National Department of Minerals Production said the flooding was not made up of chemical waste, but of rocks and iron ore.

[NYT]

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