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Overpass collapses in Brazilian World Cup host city

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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-04

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

The incident occurred on the city’s main avenue, which was being expanded for the 2014 World Cup, but like several infrastructure projects, was not completed in time for the games.

The overpass trapped a commuter bus, two construction trucks and one car, according to local authorities.

Footage from the accident site showed the trapped bus under the overpass. The woman who was driving the bus died, according to Captain Federico Pascual of the Belo Horizonte fire department.

An official in the mayor's office said a second person died, raising the death toll to two.

At least 22 people, most of them construction workers, were injured in the accident, said Pascual.

Crowds quickly gathered around the scene of the accident, with many shouting furiously.

"Because of the World Cup they sped everything up to finish faster," said Leandro Brito, 23, a bank worker. "That's why this tragedy has happened. They are not making things properly. Everyone is very angry."

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

Belo Horizonte will host the World Cup semi-final games next Tuesday between the winners of Friday’s France vs. Germany and Brazil vs. Colombia matches. The overpass collapsed about 3 miles (5 kilometres) from the Mineirao soccer stadium, which will host Tuesday’s semi-finals.

The bridge was one of the many infrastructure projects aimed at improving the city's ailing public transportation system. The bridge was to be used for passenger buses in a system known as BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) - Move, considered a legacy project for the World Cup.

Heavy government spending on the World Cup and long delays in finishing promised infrastructure projects have spurred violent street protests in Brazil over the past year, although the situation has calmed in recent weeks.


Date created : 2014-07-03

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