Three workers were killed and three others injured in the collapse of a cement silo at the construction site of the Belo Monte Dam in the Brazilian Amazon, reported the Latin American Herald Tribune.
The accident occurred while a truck was delivering cement to the silos. Three workers at the silo were pulled out and sustained minor injuries. Emergency services personnel searched the silo’s rubble for the bodies of the other three workers and found them nearly 15 hours after the operation started.
Medical personnel treated the injured workers at the scene of the collapse and then transported them to the city hospital in Altamira. Pará state police are investigating the collapse of the silo, which had the capacity to hold 500 tons of cement.
Construction of the Belo Monte Dam, a controversial project in the middle of the world’s largest rainforest, has been halted several times due to strikes by employees displeased with working conditions as well as protests by groups opposed to the hydroelectric dam complex.
Work on Belo Monte, which will be the world’s third-largest hydroelectric power plant in installed capacity, started in March 2011 in Altamira, a city in Pará state, despite opposition from Indians, farmers, fishermen and environmentalists, who fear the project’s impact on the Amazon.
Once completed, the dam will divert 80 percent of the Xingu River’s flow, flooding an area of 415 square miles and forcing the displacement of between 20,000 and 40,000 people, according to a report from MSNBC. The planned capacity of the dam complex is 11,233 megawatts (MW), which would make it the second-largest hydroelectric dam complex in Brazil and the world’s third largest in installed capacity.