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Mining Company Head Says He’s Not Responsibile for Disaster

August 25, 1985

TRENTO, Italy (AP) _ The president of the company that owned the dam that burst last month and leveled an alpine village, leaving more than 230 dead, said Saturday he was not responsibile for the disaster.

″I didn’t do anything wrong and I don’t feel guilty,″ the Italian news agency ANSA quoted Prealpi Mining Co. head Giulio Rota at a news conference.

Rota and 26 other people are under investigation in the July 19 dam collapse in which a sea of mud, water and debris swept away the mountain hamlet of Stava in northern Italy.

Rota, his brother and co-owner Aldo Rota, and three others were arrested on negligence charges stemming from the dam break, but all were subsequently released on provisional liberty.

Rota denied his company had been negligent in checking for structural faults, and refuted allegations that two cracks had developed in the dam before it broke.

The ruptured earthen dike unleashed water and debris from a large pool where minerals were cleaned from mining operations, and pressured another large earthen pool immediately below it to collapse.

Witnesses said the resulting wall of mud and debris wiped out Stava’s 20 houses and three hotels in about 20 seconds.

According to ANSA, Rota and Vincenzo Campedel, the director of the Stava mine, claimed that routine checks had been performed at the site every few hours. They said regional authorities inspected it two or three times a year.

″It never ocurred to me that the dam could be dangerous,″ ANSA quoted Rota as saying.

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