Overpass Collapses In Brazil, 2 Dead So Far

An overpass under construction in the Brazilian host city of Belo Horizonte collapsed, killing at least two and injuring many, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The overpass, part of an infrastructure upgrade for the World Cup, links Belo Horizonte, which is set to host home team Brazil in the first World Cup 2014 semifinal game against Germany.

Authorities in Minas Gerais state have confirmed two deaths, including a woman driving a commuter bus trapped under the collapsed overpass, and at least 20 others injured. Local news outlets report that vehicles involved include two other trucks and a car.

Edson Brito, 57, told Globo that numerous construction workers were at the site when the structure fell with “a loud sound and blinding dust.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the overpass was one of many projects meant to improve Brazil’s transportation infrastructure ahead of this year’s World Cup. However, like many of the projects, construction fell behind schedule and was still under construction when the collapse occurred.

The deceased bus driver, Hanna Cristina dos Santos, was driving a municipal bus whose front section was crushed under the overpass. Dos Santos’ daughter was also on the bus. She was later taken to a local hospital, where she is listed in good condition. Edgard Estevo da Silva, Minas Gerais Fire Department Lieutenant Colonel, said there was a passenger car trapped under the collapse. Though efforts have not reached the vehicle yet, the driver is believed to be dead.

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“We are profoundly sad. We are grieving. Certainly in the future we will find that there was some error of engineering or some error of construction. But that is for the future,” Marcio Lacerda, the mayor of Belo Horizonte, said in a television interview.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff expressed her condolences via her Twitter account.

“It was with sadness that I found out about the collapse of the viaduct in Belo Horizonte,” Ms. Rousseff wrote. “At this moment of pain, I offer my solidarity to the families of the victims.”

Brazil had offered 11.5 billion dollars for renovations for the World Cup. Many Brazilians, however, felt that those funds could be used to improve health care and education. At one point, approximately one million Brazilians took to the streets to protest the earmarked expenditure. Delays in completing transportation projects, such as trains and subways, added to the negative perception, as well as doubt that this World Cup wouldn’t leave a lasting legacy.