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A woman has died in a shocking accident after she fell onto the conveyor belt of an industrial potato chipper. Rafaela Alves dos Santos, 24, was killed by the machine at her workplace in Perdizes, south-eastern Brazil, as it sucked her into its mechanism. Ms dos Santos sustained severe head injuries after the engine mount crushed her.
The machine – which was designed to carry potatoes to become chopped into chips – had switched on automatically.
A worker who saw the incident explained how his colleague was carried to her death on Wednesday, November 16.
Others at the factory in Minas Gerais could not explain why the machine turned on automatically.
Representatives from Bem Brasil Alimentos expressed their regret and said it had launched an inquiry, with an investigation now ongoing.
The company said: “Bem Brasil regrets the death of an employee of a contracted third-party company, which provides services to Bem Brasil in the municipality of Perdizes/MG.
“The incident happened on the night of this Wednesday. Following its policy of work safety, Bem Brasil has already started the process of investigating the cause together with the competent bodies.”
Ms dos Santos was hired via an external firm after moving to Perdizes earlier this year.
She settled in the district with her older sister and two cousins in May as they pursued a better life.
The factory worker had previously trained as a nurse technician and hailed from Santa Luzia do Itanhy.
Her family only learned of her death following reports from local media.
Carla Cristina Dias Alves, her mother, claimed neither Bem Brasil Alimentos nor the intermediary firm had communicated news of the accident.
She told local news organisation G1 that her daughter was a “self-assured” woman with whom she was close.
Ms Dias Alves said: “She was going after her future, she was going after her dreams, to work in her field and take care of me.”
She added: “Rafaela was my darling. My other daughters were jealous, because we had a very extraordinary connection.
“She was an affectionate, self-assured girl who loved to dress up, buy shoes, clothes, perfume.
“Every morning she texted me, ‘Good morning, my love.’ Today I didn’t get her good morning.”
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