Latin America & Caribbean

Rio bridge collapses after lorry crash, killing four

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Media captionAerial footage shows the aftermath of the collapse

At least four people have died when a lorry smashed into a pedestrian bridge in Rio de Janeiro, causing it to collapse onto vehicles below.

The accident happened on a busy highway in northern Rio known as the Yellow Line road.

Another four people were injured, according to Lamsa, the company that administers the toll road.

Witnesses said there were only two people on the bridge when it collapsed just after 9:00 local time (11:00 GMT).

Normally the yellow metal bridge would be crowded at that time, with many children using it to get to school. But it was in less heavy use because of Brazil's summer holidays.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Witnesses say only two people were on the normally crowded walkway
Image copyright AP
Image caption This woman was in a car smashed under the bridge

Rio de Janeiro's Mayor Eduardo Paes told reporters at the scene that the lorry's trailer was clearly above the 4.5 metres (14 feet) permitted for use on the road, which cuts through northern and western Rio.

Mr Paes said the authorities were trying to confirm if the lorry's bed was raised when it hit the walkway. Regardless, "an infraction was being committed because trucks aren't allowed on the Yellow Line at that time of day," he added.

Valeria da Paixao, the director of a day care centre near the site of the accident, told Globo TV that she "heard a loud noise, like an explosion".

"The walkway is used by many mothers who bring their children to our school," she said. "Thank God it's vacation time and we're closed. If it happened when the school was open we would have had a major tragedy."

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