At least two people were killed and 19 injured Thursday when an unfinished bridge collapsed in Brazilian city Belo Horizonte. The rubble trapped a commuter bus, a car and two construction trucks, Brazilian authorities said.
Two trucks that were trapped belong to the company responsible for building the overpass, which reported the trucks were empty and that no one had been on top of the overpass at the time of the incident, although work was being carried out at the vicinity.
Local government agencies reported that two people had died, “presuming” the driver of the car under the fallen flyover had died, as well as the bus driver, Hanna Cristina dos Santos. The woman’s 5-year-old daughter was also on the bus, the spokesman said. Reportedly, the child was taken to the hospital and is in good condition.
Fire services, however, said they were continuing to attempt to gain access to the car by cutting up the immense slabs of concrete, and would not give up hope those underneath might still be alive, says Mashable.
Estate agent Rogerio Alves, 37, who witnessed the accident, said: “It was a terrifying thing. I still can’t believe what I saw. I was standing nearby talking with my daughter. Suddenly the viaduct crashed down all in one go, it happened in an instant.”
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said on Twitter: “It was with sadness that I found out about the collapse of the viaduct in Belo Horizonte. At this moment of pain, I offer my solidarity to the families of the victims.”
“We were traveling normally and then there was a terrible noise,” Renata Soares, who said she was on the bus at the moment of the accident, told GloboNews. “I am sure that more people in other cars were underneath the debris.”
Belo Horizonte Mayor Marcio Lacerda visited the scene of the accident and declared three days of mourning for the two victims, the city government said in a statement.
The overpass in Belo Horizonte, which is one of the hosting cities of World Cup 2014, ran over one of the major thoroughfares connecting the stadium area with the international airport. It was part of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system undertaken for the World Cup that is still unfinished.
The Belo Horizonte mayor’s office said government infrastructure officials, along with construction companies responsible for the project, would produce a report on the causes of the collapse.
“This is the incompetence of our authorities and our businesses,” said Leandro Brito, 23, a bank worker. “Because of the World Cup they sped everything up to finish faster. That’s why this tragedy has happened. They are not making things properly. Everyone is very angry.”
Over the past year the $11-billion price tag for staging the Cup angered Brazilians who took to the streets, clamoring that so much money might be better spent to improve things like schools and hospitals.
Brazil’s preparations for the World Cup have been marred by accidents and missed deadlines. At least seven people were killed working on stadiums prior to the start of the tournament. Last month, a worker was killed after a beam fell during construction of a monorail in Brazil’s biggest city, Sao Paulo, reports BBC News.