Rio de Janeiro: Five engineers have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the collapse of a tailings dam as the death toll rose to 84.
According to Xinhua, the dam was owned by the mining giant Vale in Brumadinho in Brazil’s southeastern state of Minas Gerais.
Two of the arrested are subcontracted engineers from German group TUD SUD and three others are direct Vale employees, including a geologist and two managers. They have been detained for 30 days.
The geologists and engineers had signed reports attesting to the dam’s security, stated Judge Perla Saliba Brito, who ordered their arrests.
The reports for the dam security stated that the structure was following security procedures while the managers are directly responsible for the licensing and operations of the complex in which the dam is located, and thus they are the ones in charge of its monitoring.
According to Judge Brito, there is evidence that connects the accused to murdering the victims of the dam collapse, document fraud and environmental crimes.
Rescue operations are underway as 276 people are still missing and the chances for survival are thin. No one has been rescued since Saturday.
A total of 84 bodies have been recovered and 42 have been identified so far. Most of the victims of the structure that ruptured are Vale employees.
A few rescue teams are concentrating in an area where a Vale cafeteria is believed to be buried under the mud as about 100 workers were having lunch in the cafeteria when the dam collapsed.
The whole structure was carried further down the valley by the mud wave.
In November 2015, a tailings dam partly-owned by Vale had collapsed in Mariana which is located in Minas Gerais, destroying an entire community and killing 19 people, reported Xinhua.