At least two people die and 19 are injured after part of World
Cup infrastructure plan in Belo Horizonte collapses.
An unfinished overpass collapsed in the Brazilian World Cup
host city of Belo Horizonte on Thursday, killing at least two
people, emergency officials said.
Television images showed the front of a passenger bus
crushed by the overpass, which was located about two miles
(3 km) from the Mineirão Stadium where World Cup games
are being played. Other vehicles were also crushed
underneath the wreckage.
Two people died and 19 were injured, a spokeswoman for the
Minas Gerais state health department told Reuters on
Thursday. The mayor’s office put the injury toll at 22. A fire
department spokesman said there was still one person
trapped in a car, and possibly others.
Renata Soares, who said she was on the bus at the moment of
the accident, told GloboNews TV: “We were travelling
normally and then there was a terrible noise. I am sure that
more people in other cars were underneath the debris.”
GloboNews TV showed video of bloodied passengers of the
bus staggering away from the wreckage, screaming. Later, pictures near the scene showed people holding signs that said, “This is the
reality of the Cup” and “World Cup disaster: put it on Fifa’s
“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.”
Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, offered her government’s
assistance to local authorities if needed.
“In this moment of pain, I offer my solidarity to the families
of the victims,” she said on Twitter.
Work on the network of bus corridors began in 2010 and was
supposed to finish in May. Some portions of the network are
running, but long stretches are still under construction.
The cause of the accident, the worst since the month-long
tournament began on 12 June, was unclear and no workers
were known to be on the overpass when it fell.
Rescue operations continued under floodlights, and officials
had not been able to reach one of the trapped cars.
“We cannot reach the vehicle; we don’t know how many
victims there are and there could still be someone alive,”
A World Cup semi-final will be held in Belo Horizonte on
Tuesday. The stadium has already hosted five games.
After Brazil was awarded the World Cup in 2007, politicians
promised $8bn (£4.7bn) would be spent on 56 airports,
subway lines and other such projects nationwide.
But fewer than 10 of the infrastructure projects were opened
in time for the tournament.
Last month, a worker died after a 90-tonne beam fell during
the construction of a monorail train project in São Paulo.
The 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.