Brazil: Eight Vale Employees Arrested Over Dam Collapse

Eight employees of the company involved in the dam collapse that left several people dead have been arrested. The arrests come as part of an investigation by Brazilian authorities.

Brazilian mining giant Vale is being investigated following the collapse of a dam near the town of Brumadinho. The collapse, which happened last month, killed more than 160 people and 147 are still missing.

Days after the collapse, authorities arrested five people, including two employees from the inspection company. Search warrants have also been issued for four people from the inspection company. Reports say the inspection company said the dam was stable but recommended for the company to install water pressure monitors.

Authorities made the arrests in Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Two of the eight arrested are executives of the mining giant. Authorities plan to question all of them in Belo Horizonte.

It is the second time that the company is involved in a deadly disaster in the last four years. In November 2015, a dam collapse in another area of Brazil left many people dead. The collapse left thousands of residents without homes. The company has spent billions in cleanup efforts. It also reached a settlement worth billions of dollars with the government.

German inspection company Tuv Sud carried out an inspection late last year. The company said it passed all the requirements. But days ago, an internal report seen by Reuters said Vale knew that the dam was at risk.

There have also been reports of employees talking about a leak that was fixed. One employee even mentioned that one of his family members, who was also working there, was worried about the leak and that he had thought about quitting the job over that. Another employee said his father, who had been in the mining industry for years, was contacted to help with the repairs.

A video from a Brazilian news station recently showed the moment when the mudslide reached a building and vehicles that were working in the area. The collapse destroyed a cafeteria right around lunchtime.

Vale has denied that there was any leak and said that the recent report was misleading since there was no evidence that the dam was at risk. Authorities have questioned several employees so far and plan to question many more in the next few days. Brazilian authorities were heavily criticized after the 2015 disaster for being too slow and not taking action against the company.