“Human negligence” was to blame for last week’s spill of toxic sludge in Hungary, according to the country’s prime minister.
The boss of the industrial firm whose reservoir burst has been taken in for questioning by police.
As emergency teams raced to finish building a new dam to prevent a second spill, it emerged that the body of an eighth victim of the disaster had been found.
The prime minister told parliament that the government would take control of the company, a move overwhelmingly approved by MPs.
Viktor Orban told MPs there was reason to believe there were people who knew about the dangerously weakened state of the reservoir walls, but chose to do nothing, hoping that trouble could be avoided.
The company says the walls met the required technical standards, based on a survey carried out in 1995. It has offered to pay compensation in proportion to its responsibility.
Zoltan Bakonyi, the chief executive who has been arrested, is the son of the company’s founder.
A team of five EU environmental experts has begun helping the Hungarian authorities to cope with the aftermath of the spill.
The European Commission President is expected in Hungary this Tuesday.
The village of Kolontar, which took the full force of the tidal wave of sludge, remains evacuated. A nearby town is still on alert.