5 arrested, including 3 Vale staff, after Brazil dam disaster

VIDEO: REUTERS
Firefighters searching for victims of Friday's dam collapse near the town of Brumadinho, southeastern Brazil, on Jan 28, 2019.
Firefighters searching for victims of Friday's dam collapse near the town of Brumadinho, southeastern Brazil, on Jan 28, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (REUTERS) - Three employees of Brazilian miner Vale SA and two other engineers working on behalf of the company were arrested on Tuesday (Jan 29), Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo state prosecutors said.

In a statement on Twitter, Vale said it was cooperating with investigators, who are probing a mining disaster that is likely to leave a death toll of more than 300 people.

The tragedy has enraged many in Brazil, and raised fresh questions about Vale’s commitment to safety after a similar disaster at a mine it joint-owned just over three years ago.

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, seen by Reuters.

The job of the third Vale employee was not immediately clear.

Two other engineers were arrested in Sao Paulo, state prosecutors there said.

Minas Gerais 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.