Rio city centre shrouded in dust after collapse

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Rio city centre shrouded in dust after collapse

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At least three people are now confirmed dead following the collapse of two high-rise buildings in the centre of Rio de Janeiro.

A further 19 are missing, and there are fears the death toll could rise as workers sift through the debris that has fallen like volcanic ash in the elegant centre of the city.

The collapses occurred in a street that is fortunately near-empty by night, but normally teemed with activity during the day.

Structural problems are thought to be responsible for the accident rather than a gas explosion or criminal act.

“When the building collapsed there was a lot of dust and everyone started running without knowing where to go. I fear there are a lot of people inside,” said one woman caught up in the disaster.

Two 20 and 10-storey towers fell towards each other, crushing a smaller four-storey building in between.

With a World Cup and Olympics tourist boom coming over the next few years there are worries Brazil’s creaky infrastructure may not be able to welcome millions of visitors safely.

In October three died and a score were injured in a suspected gas explosion in a city centre restaurant.