Brazil has been fielding more than its share of trouble ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, but now the Associated Press reports another: the collapse of an elevated bike path built ahead of the Olympics.
An AP photographer reportedly saw two dead bodies laid out on the beach near the collapse, while a local fire official told the press agency three people were “affected by the accident.” The BBC reports that five people are missing.
A água do mar SEMPRE bateu forte neste trecho da Niemeyer. Ainda estamos em Abril pois lá pra Junho/Julho será pior! pic.twitter.com/tNeUfMuOk6
— Flavio (@flaviof_dpe) April 21, 2016
Ciclovia Tim Maia vira pó na av Niemeyer. Superfaturamento olímpico. pic.twitter.com/HM32CQUsO4
— helio de la peña (@lapena) April 21, 2016
— Victor Hugo❗️ (@Vichugo82) April 21, 2016
Ambulances and helicopters are reportedly on the scene. Argentine news outlet Infobae has video (Warning: Graphic) of bodies being carried out of the sea.
The BBC describes the elevated bike path as “one of many projects built in the run-up to this summer’s Olympic games.” In fact, construction is still under way to extend the bike path further westward, into a neighborhood that will serve as one of the Olympic hubs. It was apparently not intended for use in any of the Olympic cycling events, however.
“The bike path runs several miles (kilometers) through southern parts of the city, connecting the tony beachfront neighborhoods of Leblon and Sao Conrado. It snakes along sheer cliffs tens of meters above the surface of the ocean,” writes the Associated Press.
“Since its January inauguration, the path has earned kudos for its spectacular views. But detractors complained it was dangerous, saying the narrowness of the path made cyclists prime targets for mugging. In the weeks after it was opened, local newspapers also featured photos of its speedy deterioration, showing missing handrails and rusting metal parts,” the AP continues.
It is not entirely clear why the bike path collapsed at the time of this writing, but the Epoch Times quotes Portuguese-language media saying witnesses saw a large wave hit the slope beneath the section that collapsed, and at least three people fall into the water.