The Merriespruit tailings dam disaster occurred on the night of 22 February 1994 when a tailings dam failed and flooded the suburb of Merriespruit, Virginia, Free State, South Africa. Seventeen people were killed.
Late afternoon on the day of the failure a thunderstorm occurred and about 50 mm of rain fell in 30 minutes. When the dam failed, 600 000 m³ of liquid flowed 4 km. The nearest housed were located 300 m downslope of the dam, when the wave of water and slime reached them it was 2.5 m high.
Seventeen people were killed and there was widespread devastation and environmental damage. Eighty houses were destroyed.