Jefferson Ferreira, 33, was out looking for his sister amongst the trail of destruction when he heard of a report that someone was still alive in the mud.
Thinking it might be his sister, Ferreira rushed to the site with a friend.
When he arrived and got closer, it was not his sister but rather a 15-year-old girl trapped in the mud.
Girl trapped elbow-deep
Taking advantage of his height, Ferreira waded through the sea of thick mud to reach the girl who was trapped elbow-deep.
Ferreira stayed by the girl's side until rescuers arrived in a helicopter, helping to lift her up to the chopper to safety.
Bittersweet moment for Ferreira
The video of the dramatic rescue has gone viral in Brazil, catapulting Ferreira to nationwide fame.
But for this local hero, it is a bittersweet moment. Ferreira's sister Jussara remains missing.
Hopes fading as over 250 still missing
Rescue teams so far, have recovered the bodies of 99 people buried after the rupture last week of a Vale tailings dam.
With over 250 people still missing, hope of finding more survivors is fading.
Search for survivors intensified
The search for survivors intensified on Monday, with the support of an Israeli contingent, after communities were devastated by a dam collapse that killed around 100 people at a Brazilian mining complex.