Photo: Brazil Buildings Collapse, Claim At Least 3, With Many Still Missing
The bodies of three people were found Thursday morning amid the rubble of three buildings that collapsed in downtown Rio de Janeiro, firefighters said.
They said the first victim discovered was that of a still-unidentified 45-year-old man, while the corpses of a woman and another person for whom no information was provided were later removed from the site of the accident.
Authorities had said that Wednesday night’s collapse, the cause of which has not yet been determined, left five people with slight injuries and 19 people missing, and therefore another 16 people are believed to be buried in the rubble.
Two tall buildings, one nearly 20 stories high and another 10 stories high, collapsed, while another smaller structure was buried by the other two.
The accident occurred in downtown Rio de Janeiro’s Cinelandia district, where numerous offices and stores are located.
The area is bustling with people during business hours, but at the time of the accident - shortly after 8:30 p.m. - few pedestrians tend to be on the street.
Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes told Globo television that the figure of 19 missing was based on reports from family members and had not been completely confirmed.
He said authorities have almost entirely ruled out the possibility that an explosion from a gas leak caused the collapse, adding that construction work had been underway on two stories of the tallest building.
Nearly 70 firefighters and 40 emergency-management personnel have been conducting a search for possible survivors and attending to the injured since Wednesday night.