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Overpass collapses in World Cup city; at least two dead

Source: Reuters - Thu, 3 Jul 2014 20:16 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Adds account from witnesses, officials in paragraphs 3-6, background on project)

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil, July 3 (Reuters) - An unfinished overpass collapsed in the Brazilian World Cup host city of Belo Horizonte on Thursday, killing at least two people, emergency officials said.

Television images showed the front of a passenger bus crushed by the overpass, which was located about two miles (3 km) from the Mineirao Stadium where World Cup games are being played. Other vehicles were also crushed underneath the wreckage, officials said.

Two people died and 19 were injured, a spokeswoman for the Minas Gerais state health department told Reuters. A fire department spokesman said there was still one person trapped in a car, and possibly more.

The cause of the collapse was unclear. The overpass was part of a network of bus lanes that Brazil planned to have ready for the World Cup, but was not finished on time.

"We were traveling normally and then there was a terrible noise," Renata Soares, who said she was on the bus at the moment of the accident, told GloboNews TV. "I am sure that more people in other cars were underneath the debris."

A World Cup semi-final match will be held in Belo Horizonte next Tuesday. The stadium has already hosted five games.

Heavy government spending on the World Cup and long delays in infrastructure projects have spurred violent street protests in Brazil over the past year, although they have died down in recent weeks.

Last month, one worker died after a 90-tonne beam fell during the construction of a monorail train project in São Paulo. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal, Caroline Stauffer, Eduardo Simoes and Tiago Pariz; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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