Anadolu Agency – UPDATED 4 July 10:15am
SÃO PAULO – An overpass under construction in the Brazilian World Cup host city of Belo Horizonte collapsed onto a busy highway on Thursday, killing two person and injuring 22 others, officials confirmed to the Anadolu Agency (AA).
The flyover fell on four vehicles – a bus, two trucks and a car – at around 3:10pm local time (18:10 GMT).
The structure is part of the city’s new rapid bus transit system – part of the city’s World Cup urban mobility project – and was meant to be ready in July.
Captain Frederico Pascoal, from the Minas Gerais state fire department, told AA that one fatality was confirmed as the driver of the bus, which was reportedly full of passengers. She was named as 25-year-old Hanna Cristina Santos.
The official had said the number of deaths was likely to rise as emergency crews reached the car, which was entirely trapped under one of the collapsed sections of the overpass. Emergency services began to cut the concrete structure into smaller sections to gain access to the vehicle.
Hours later, as crews reached the wreckage of the car, confirmation came of the second death of the incident – the driver of the Fiat Uno, named as 25-year-old Charlys Frederico Moreira do Nascimento.
Cptn Pascoal also confirmed that the two trucks crushed under the overpass belong to the company responsible undertaking its construction, and that no one was believed to be in those two vehicles at the time of the incident, or on the overpass itself, according to the company.
Those injured in the incident were transferred to local hospitals, and their condition was not thought to be life-threatening.
Local news reported that 19 emergency teams were taking part in the rescue at the site, which is around 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the city’s World Cup venue, the Mineirão stadium.
Three days of mourning have been announced, according to the city’s mayor, who also confirmed an investigation would follow to identify why the overpass collapsed. Local media reported that support struts had been removed ahead of the urban mobility project’s completion.
The major Avenida Dom Pedro I highway, onto which the overpass collapsed, is one of the key routes from the city’s main airport to the stadium and the nearby Pampulha district of Belo Horizonte.
Belo Horizonte is one of 12 World Cup host cities and is set to host the tournament’s first semifinal next Tuesday, July 8.
Last month a construction worker died when a concrete beam fell at an unfinished monorail project in São Paulo, which was also meant to be ready for the World Cup.