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Three Vale employees and two engineers were arrested in Brazil after the dam collapse tragedy which claimed 65 lives up to now.
Three employees of Brazilian mining company Vale SA and two other engineers working on behalf of the company were arrested Tuesday, state prosecutors said, deepening a crisis for the company after another deadly disaster at one of its mines.
In a statement on Twitter, Vale said it was cooperating with investigators, who are probing a mining catastrophe that is likely to leave a death toll of more than 300 people.
Two of Vale’s senior managers at the Corrego do Feijao mine where a tailings dam burst last Friday, drowning the nearby town of Brumadinho in mining waste, were among those arrested, according to the local judge’s decision. The job of the third Vale employee was not immediately clear.
Two other engineers, who worked on behalf of Vale and are accused of attesting to the safety of the dam, were arrested in Sao Paulo, state prosecutors there said.
Minas Gerais state investigators issued a total of five arrest warrants and seven search warrants, on suspicion of murder, falsification of documents and environmental crimes, the judge’s decision showed.
Brazil’s top prosecutor said the company should be criminally prosecuted and executives held personally responsible.
Chief Financial Officer Luciano Siani said Vale was doing all it could, offering money to mourners, extra tax payments to local government, a special membrane to remove mud from the river and major investments to make its dams safer.
The collapse of the dam in the hilly, pastoral region has caused 65 confirmed deaths so far, according to firefighters’ count Monday night, with another 279 people lost and likely dead.
Vale CFO Siani said the company would donate 100,000 reales (approximately US$26,800) to each family that had lost a loved one.