Plant managers on trial for Hungarian toxic mud spill

Sep 25, 2012
Members of a TV crew report on the aftermath of a massive toxic spill in Kolontar, a village in Hungary, in 2010. The head of the alumina plant that caused the spill went on trial Monday along with 14 employees, accused of negligence.

The head of an alumina plant that caused a massive toxic spill in western Hungary in 2010 went on trial Monday along with 14 employees, accused of negligence.

Ten people were killed and some 150 injured after a holding reservoir at the MAL alumina plant in Ajka burst its walls on October 4, 2010, sending 1.1 million cubic metres (38.8 million cubic feet) of poisonous red into the surrounding area.

The 15 accused, headed by MAL's managing director Zoltan Bakonyi, have been charged with negligence, violations and damages to the environment.

Witness hearings are to be held at the court in Veszprem, near the site of the disaster, until late October. It was unclear when a verdict was expected.

MAL Hungarian Aluminium Production and Trade Company was already ordered in September 2011 to pay 135 billion forints (477 million euros, 615 million) to the regional environmental authorities.

It was however allowed to continue production, despite the spill, which officials have called Hungary's worst chemical disaster.

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