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Flyover collapses in Brazil World Cup host city

media captionMobile phone footage showed the moments after the collapse

A flyover has collapsed on to vehicles in the Brazilian World Cup host city of Belo Horizonte, killing two people.

The concrete and steel bridge, which was under construction, fell on to traffic on a busy highway.

A commuter bus was crushed, killing the driver, along with two unoccupied trucks. A body was also recovered from a car trapped beneath the rubble.

The south-eastern Brazilian city is due to host a football World Cup semi-final match next week.

The emergency services told Brazilian newspaper O Globo that the rescue operation had ended after a 15-hour operation to recover a man's body from the mangled car.

The man was named as Charlys Frederico Nascimento, 25, and was the second confirmed death after the bus driver Hanna Cristina Santos, also 25, died at the scene on Thursday night.

Twenty-two people were also injured in the incident.

Officials said a forensic team would start working immediately to try to identify the causes of the accident.

image copyrightReuters
image captionThe emergency services worked for more than 15 hours to retrieve a body from a trapped car

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said on Twitter that it was "with sadness" that she found out about the accident, and she offered her "solidarity to the victims' families".

Belo Horizonte Mayor Marcio Lacerda visited the scene of the accident and declared three days of mourning for the two victims, the city government said in a statement.

The construction firm that was responsible for building the flyover, Cowan, said it "deeply regrets what happened".

"At the moment, the priority is to support victims and their families," it said in a statement.

The company said technical staff had been sent to the scene to start investigations.

image copyrightAFP
image captionA spokesman for the rescue services said that 13 people had been rescued from the damaged bus
image copyrightAFP
image captionTwo trucks were also crushed by the flyover but officials said these were empty at the time of the incident

"When I saw the flyover falling down, I feared the worst would happen, that the bridge would turn on top of our bus," Renata Soares, who said she was sitting at the back of the yellow bus that was crushed, told Brazil's GloboNews.

Another witness speaking to the channel, Daniel Magalhaes, said that the moment the bridge collapsed felt "like an earthquake. The ground shook violently. I heard a very loud bang".

World Cup accidents

The scene of the accident is near the busy district of Lagoa da Pampulha and the Mineirao Stadium, which has played host to several World Cup matches.

The unfinished flyover was part of the World Cup infrastructure plan aimed at improving Belo Horizonte's public transport system.

A resident of the city, Diego Siqueira, told the BBC that people in Belo Horizonte were "not surprised" by the accident.

"Every World Cup infrastructure construction was delayed until the last year and they started to build it so fast and without quality," he complained.

Brazil's preparations for the World Cup have been marred by accidents and missed deadlines. At least seven people were killed working on stadiums prior to the start of the tournament.

Last month, a worker was killed after a beam fell during construction of a monorail in Brazil's biggest city, Sao Paulo.

The authorities have denied allegations that corners have been cut to get projects finished on time for the football tournament.

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