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Final death toll of collapsed Brazil overpass is 2

July 4, 2014

SAO PAULO (AP) — Rescue workers on Friday recovered the body of a 25-year-old man crushed beneath tons of concrete and steel of an unfinished overpass that collapsed in the World Cup host city of Belo Horizonte, a City Hall press officer said.

The official said that rescue workers reached a small passenger car that was flattened by the collapsed overpass and retrieved the body of Charlys do Nascimento. No one else was in the car.

He said the final death toll was two. Officials had already assumed at least one person had died in the car in addition to a bus driver whose body was recovered earlier. Twenty-two people suffered non-life-threatening injuries in Thursday’s accident.

No one was inside the two trucks trapped underneath the rubble, the press officer said.

The press officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of internal regulations, said inspectors were trying to determine what caused the overpass to fall.

Belo Horizonte Mayor Marcio Lacerda told reporters it was premature to talk about causes.

“We don’t know if it was the project or the construction that was flawed.” he said.

Lacerda decreed three days of mourning and canceled Friday’s World Cup-related activities like the Fan Fest.

The overpass collapsed about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from Mineirao stadium, which is the site of a semifinal match Tuesday.

The collapse has been an embarrassment for the country, which has been basking in praise for what has mostly been a smoothly running soccer tournament.

Talk radio shows were abuzz Friday with indignation over the collapse.

Callers and hosts pointed to the incident as an example of what has infuriated Brazilians in the run-up to the Cup: infrastructure projects running far behind schedule, well over budget and often allegedly poorly done.

When Brazil was awarded the World Cup in 2007, politicians promised $8 billion would be spent on 56 airports, subway lines and other such projects nationwide. But fewer than 10 of the infrastructure projects were completed in time for the tournament. Among those delayed was the overpass collapsed in Belo Horizonte.

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