Two killed as overpass collapses in Belo Horizonte

At least 19 injured as bridge falls down on to heavy traffic in Brazil World Cup host city

Fri, Jul 4, 2014, 10:00

An unfinished overpass collapsed in the Brazilian World Cup host city of Belo Horizonte yesterday, killing at least two people, and trapping a commuter bus, two construction trucks and a car, Brazilian authorities said.

Television images showed the front of a passenger bus crushed by the overpass, which was located about 3km (two miles) from the Mineirao Stadium where World Cup games are being played.

Two people died and 19 were injured, a spokeswoman for the Minas Gerais state health department said. A woman who was driving a commuter bus trapped by the overpass died, said Captain Federico Pascual of the Belo Horizonte fire department.

The overpass “arched over a really busy thoroughfare,” Mr Pascual said.

Security camera footage showed heavy traffic on the street below the structure the moment that it collapsed, striking vehicles below and trapping them underneath.

The cause of the collapse was unclear. The overpass was part of a network of bus lanes that Brazil planned to have ready for the World Cup, but like most urban transportation projects related to the tournament was not finished on time for the event.

“We were travelling 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 TV. “I am sure that more people in other cars were underneath the debris.”

A World Cup semi-final match will be held in Belo Horizonte next Tuesday. The stadium has already hosted five games. Heavy government spending on the World Cup and long delays in infrastructure projects have spurred violent street protests in Brazil over the past year, although they have died down in recent weeks.

Last month, one worker died after a 90-tonne beam fell during the construction of a monorail train project in Sao Paulo. – (Reuters/AP)