Two killed as flyover collapses in Brazilian World Cup city of Belo Horizonte

Incident in Belo Horizonte is latest to mar World Cup dogged by delays to infrastructure and deadly stadium construction accidents

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 July, 2014, 10:16am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 July, 2014, 2:11am

An unfinished overpass being built for the World Cup crashed down on several vehicles in Brazil’s southeastern city of Belo Horizonte on Thursday, killing at least two people and injuring 22.

Globo television images showed the front of a yellow bus crushed under a large stretch of the fallen highway, which is about 5km from the city’s World Cup stadium and was being built as part of delayed infrastructure improvements for the tournament.

“It was like an earthquake. The ground shook violently,” Daniel Magalhaes, who was near the site at the time of the accident, told Globo. “I heard a deafening sound. I looked and saw the collapsed overpass.”

Two people were killed and 22 injured, the health agency of the state of Minas Gerais said. The fire brigade had earlier given a toll of one dead and 13 injured.

Watch: Bridge collapse kills two in Brazil World Cup city

A firefighters’ spokesman said 13 people were rescued from the bus unscathed but the woman driver was killed.

A car was also crushed but it was not immediately known how many people were inside and what their condition was, firefighter spokesman Edgard Estevo da Silva said.

“The vehicle is completely under the overpass,” he said.

Two trucks belonging to the construction company were also hit but the firm said nobody was inside them at the time, Silva said.

A total of 14 firefighting teams were at the scene.

President Dilma Rousseff expressed “sadness” on Twitter, offering her condolences to the families of victims as well as federal help to local authorities.

The structure, which was begun last year, is in the Sao Joao Batista district of the city.

“The overpass was in the final stages of construction and they were taking down the scaffolding when the accident happened,” a fire brigade spokesman said.

A public works spokesman for the city hall said that the overpass had been due to carry an express bus service through the city. The project was supposed to have been completed at the end of July.

“All mayoralty staff have been mobilised – the priority is to attend to the victims,” said the spokesman.

Belo Horizonte’s Mineirao Stadium has hosted five World Cup matches and is due to stage a semi-final next Tuesday.

The Brazil World Cup has been dogged by delays to stadiums and infrastructure, and there were several accidents during construction of the stadiums.

Just three days before the World Cup began on June 12, another accident in Brazil’s business hub Sao Paulo killed one worker and injured two when an unfinished monorail collapsed.