World Cup: At least two people killed and 19 injured after overpass collapses in Belo Horizonte
Last Updated: 04/07/14 4:39pm
At least two people have been killed and 19 injured after an overpass collapsed in the World Cup host city of Belo Horizonte.
Television images showed part of a passenger bus crushed under the overpass, two trucks and a vehicle were also involved.
"The overpass was in the final stages of construction and they were taking down the scaffolding when the accident happened," said a fire brigade spokesman.
A total of 13 people were rescued from the bus unscathed but the woman driver was killed.
"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."
A car was also crushed but it was not immediately known how many people were inside and what their condition was.
"The vehicle is completely under the overpass," said firefighter spokesman Edgard Estevo da Silva.
Two trucks belonging to the construction company were also hit but the firm said nobody was inside them at the time.
The accident site is around two miles from the Mineirao stadium, where a World Cup semi-final match will be held next Tuesday, July 8.
The stadium had already hosted five games, the highlight of which saw Brazil beat Chile on penalties in the last-16 on Saturday, while the overpass was one of the many infrastructure projects aimed at improving the city's ailing public transport network.
The bridge was to be used for passenger buses in a system known as BRT/Move, considered a legacy project from the World Cup.
Government overspending on the World Cup and long delays in finishing promised infrastructure projects have spurred violent street protests in Brazil over the past year, although they have been less prominent in recent weeks with the hosts reaching the quarter-finals.
City government officials have launched an investigation into the causes of the collapse.
A statement from the City Hall of Belo Horizonte read: "This committee will also follow closely the work of expertise and preparation of a technical report by the competent authorities, which will provide all necessary information for the elucidation of the causes of this unfortunate accident.
"The mayor Marcio Lacerda was this afternoon at the crash site to express his support for the victims and declared a three-day official mourning due to the death of two people.
"Speaking to reporters, the mayor reiterated his "sorrow and sympathy to the victims and their families." Marcio Lacerda said that "at present, the most important is to give all assistance and support to those who suffered the consequences of this terrible accident."
The incident was about three miles from the Minas Tennis Club where the British Olympic and Paralympic teams will have their training base ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics.