Brazil subway accident

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2007, 12:00am


A 40-metre-wide hole lined with concrete gave way without warning, creating an 80-metre deep crater filled with construction debris at a site for a new subway station.

It swallowed four dump trucks and a minibus. The lip of the hole gave way to a landslide, dumping tonnes of earth, asphalt and concrete on top of the vehicles.

When & Where?

The incident happened last Friday at a construction site for the new 'Pinheiros' subway line in South America's biggest city, Sao Paulo. It is next to one of the busiest highways in Brazil.


Who were the people affected? There are seven possible victims who disappeared into the crater as the construction site collapsed: a minibus driver, fare collector and two passengers, two pedestrians and a truck driver who was working at the site. Rescue crews, aided by sniffer dogs, have been searching into the night for the victims who are feared buried. Three construction workers were also hurt in the incident, but none of their injuries were life-threatening.

More than 100 people living near the site were evacuated and put up in hotels because of fears that a crane weighing 50 tonnes that was removing cars and debris threatened to topple.

How & Why?

How did this happen, and why? The cause of the collapse was still under investigation, but the consortium of Brazilian companies building the subway station said that heavy tropical rains this year may have contributed by softening the underground area around the construction site.

The rescue effort continued after the weekend, and authorities said it was still possible that people may have survived. But they hadn't found any sign of the minibus or victims.

The consortium has denied any negligence.