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Bridge collapses in World Cup host city, killing at least two

An unfinished overpass collapsed on vehicles in Brazil’s southeastern World Cup city of Belo Horizonte on Thursday. (PEDRO DUARTE/AFP/Getty Images)

A bridge collapsed in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte, killing at least two people while crushing two construction trucks, a car and part of a bus. The city’s Mineirao Stadium has hosted five World Cup games so far and is scheduled to be the site of a semifinal match on Tuesday.

Brazil’s preparations for the World Cup were the subject of huge controversy before the tournament started, both for the money spent on them and for many problems plaguing the country’s efforts to build the required infrastructure. Eight people died while helping construct stadiums for the World Cup, which, once it started, had been going more smoothly than many anticipated.

From a Reuters report:

The collapsed bridge stretched over one of the major thoroughfares connecting the stadium area with the international airport. It was part of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that officials had promised would be ready for the World Cup.

Groups of people gathered around the scene of the accident, some shouting furiously.

“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.”

Rescue workers try to reach vehicles trapped underneath a bridge that collapsed while under construction in Belo Horizonte July 3, 2014. (Carlos Greco/Reuters)

Globo news, a 24-hour Brazilian news channel, posted video of the scene, which can be viewed here.

More from Reuters:

Via Twitter on Thursday, 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.

There were conflicting reports over the casualties of the accident in Belo Horizonte, which has already hosted five World Cup games and has the semi-final match on Tuesday.

The city’s fire department confirmed one death and 19 injuries, Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Estevo said. A health department spokesman earlier said two people had died but later said one of the deaths had not yet been confirmed.

Des writes for the Early Lead and the D.C. Sports Bog, scouring the Web to bring readers items of interest, both serious and amusing. He also covers fantasy football, as well as fitness topics for the MisFits.



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Des Bieler · July 3, 2014