Police charge 7 with homicide over dam burst that killed 17

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian police have charged the president of the Samarco mining company and six other people with aggravated homicide over the deaths of at least 17 people after a dam burst in November.

In a news release Tuesday, police in the state of Minas Gerais said they have requested that Samarco President Ricardo Vescovi, five other company executives and one contractor be held in preventative detention while awaiting trial. The men are charged with homicide, causing a flood and polluting drinking water.

A mammoth wave of debris from a Samarco iron-ore mine broke through the Fundao dam Nov. 5. The mud and water swept over nearby towns and polluted hundreds of miles of waterways in two states in southeastern Brazil.