Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Brazilian authorities arrested business leaders and engineers who certified the safety of a dam that collapsed last week, killing at least 65 people and leaving at least 279 missing.
Five people were arrested Tuesday morning in connection to the collapse of the iron ore tailings dam of the Mina do Feijao, owned by the world's biggest iron ore supplier Vale, G1 Globo media reported.
Two engineers who work for Germany-based TÜV SÜD, which provided services to Vale, were arrested in Sao Paulo state while three Vale officials were arrested in the state of Minas Gerais, the report said.
The arrested engineers were identified as Andre Yassuda and Makoto Namba. The Vale officials arrested are geologist Cesar Paulino Grandchamp, environment minister Ricardo de Oliveira, and Rodrigo Gomes de Melo, general manager of the Paraopeba da Vale complex, G1 said.
State attorneys and police carried out the arrests after determining documents that attested to the safety of the dam were fraudulent, G1 said.
"With regards to the warrants served this morning, Vale informs that it is fully cooperating with the authorities," the company said in a statement.
"Vale will continue to support the investigations in order to determine the facts, in addition to the unconditional support to the families," it added.
Another report by R7 Brasil quoted judge Perla Saliva Brito, who ordered the arrests, saying that "it is not credible that such a big dam, built by one of the biggest world miners, would suddenly break without having given some hints of vulnerability."
She added, in documents to which R7 had exclusive access, that experts have said there are sensors that can detect signs alerting of changes in water content, soil humidity and different pressures, "which makes us conclude that there were means to avoid the tragedy."
In the meantime, some 290 rescue worker continued the search in Brumadinho, an area located near Belo Horizonte, about 390 miles southeast from the country's capital of Brasilia, and have located more bodies, but the death toll will not be updated until the end of Tuesday, G1 said.
The chief of a native community that lives 14 miles from Brumadinho reported all life in the river on which his community depends for food, bathing and cloth washing is "dead" and polluted with the mineral-loaded mud, G1 said.
Judges have granted attachments to company accounts for up to $2.9 billion to assure it takes care of those affected and repairs the environmental damage. It has also imposed nearly $95 million in fines.