Thursday, July 3, 2014

Brazil: Deadly Overpass Collapse in Belo Horizonte

At least two fatalities have resulted from the collapse of an overpass in Belo Horizonte, a Brazilian city that has hosted several World Cup matches:

Images have shown the front of a yellow bus trapped beneath the motorway while local fire department officials claimed that there is at least one person stuck inside a vehicle pinned down underneath the structure.  Nineteen people are said to be injured due to the incident that occurred on Thursday afternoon.

"When I saw the overpass falling down, I feared the worst would happen, that the bridge would turn on top of our bus," said Renata Soares, a passenger allegedly sitting at the back of the yellow bus, to Brazilian TV. 

“The ground shook violently. I heard a very loud bang,” noted Daniel Magalhaes, another eyewitness to the accident. 

According to the Brazilian press, one of the deceased is said to be twenty-five-year-old Hana Cristina Santos who was the driver of the partially crushed bus.  Her ex-husband claimed that their five-year-old daughter was riding on the bus but escaped death and is being treated in a local hospital.

The collapsed structure was under construction as part of a series of bus lines designed to improve public transit in the capital city of Minas Gerais state.  The project was supposed to be completed prior to the World Cup that started on June 12 but was not completed in time. (According to the Associated Press, “Belo Horizonte was one of the first Brazilian cities to be ready for the World Cup, avoiding the delays that marked the preparations of nearly all other host cities”.)

The accident took place approximately two miles away from the Mineirao Stadium where five World Cup matches have been held and the host of one of the tournament’s semifinals next week.

The incident in Belo Horizonte comes nearly month after a construction worker was killed at the site of a monorail being built near Sao Paulo’s Congonhas airport.  That fatality became the ninth death related to the controversial preparations for the World Cup that ends on July 13.

Video Source – YouTube user Dudu Batera

Online Sources – euronews; BBC News; Associated Press; G1

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