By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On the afternoon of Thursday, July 3rd an overpass in the World Cup host city of Belo Horizonte, collapsed. The falling overpass reportedly smashed a passenger bus, two trucks and one vehicle. The Minas Gerais state health department reported two deaths and nineteen to twenty-two injured.
A spokesperson for Hospital Risoleta Tolentino Neves, the hospital were most of the injured were transported, told O Globo that none of the victims brought to their hospital had sustained life-threatening wounds.
At the time of this report, the reason for the bridge’s collapse was not yet known. The Mayor of Belo Horizonte, Marcio Lacerda, told O Globo during an interview; “We are identifying the victims and their families that need assistance. After all is determined, we will surely discover the mistake, but at that moment, assistance to all of the families is more important.”
Shortly after the incident, Lacerda also declared three official days of mourning in the city. Belo Horizonte is the capital of the state of Minas Gerais and is one of twelve cities in Brazil currently hosting the World Cup matches.
The city’s Estádio Mineirão is located approximately 3km away from the site of the collapsed overpass. The stadium has already hosted five World Cup matches and is still scheduled to host a semi-final World Cup match on July, 8th.
The overpass was part of a currently under construction network for Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) bus lines. Funded by Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) resources, it was meant to be one of the city’s main legacies of the World Cup but did not reach completion in time.
Lacerda stated that the work was not the responsibility of the city as the company in charge of the project had not delivered it to the city. “The overpass was not yet handed over to City Hall,” Lacerda told O Globo. “An judicial inquest inquiry will be launched, since there were victims.”
The overpass was officially scheduled to be finalized and be delivered to the city at the end of this month.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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