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Brazilian government investigates bridge collapse

An internal inquiry is to be opened after two people were killed Thursday as an overpass gave way and crushed vehicles in World Cup host city Belo Horizonte.

Brazilian government officials said they are already investigating yesterday's tragic bridge collapse in Belo Horizonte which left two dead and many more injured.

An overpass just three kilometers from the city's Estadio Mineirao gave way Thursday, crushing several vehicles and taking the lives of two people, including the bus driver who slammed on the brakes to save the lives of her passengers and her young daughter, who was also on board.

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The road section, which was originally scheduled to be completed in time for the World Cup, was only days from completion and had been expected to be in operation in time for Tuesday's semifinal.

But tragedy struck Thursday and awoke public concern about the safety of other overpasses in the city, with most built by the same construction company.

"It's a moment of tremendous emotion and tremendous sadness," said the Secretary of Public Works and Infrastructure of Belo Horizonte's city government, Jose Lauro Nogueira, at a heated news conference Friday. "We have undertaken very detailed and thorough tests into all of our constructions and none of them showed up any problems. We work with excellent companies with fine reputations and experience. Now we will take the necessary measures to establish what happened here.

"We are going to work with specialists in this phase to determine what went wrong and establish the cause and the responsibility for yesterday's tragedy.

He added: "We will also take all of the necessary measures to ensure our other overpasses are safe."

Health Secretary Fabiano Geraldo Pimenta revealed that two of the 23 injured in the bridge collapse remain in hospital and confirmed there will be no further fatalities.

"First of all, I would like to express our sadness and our consternation, and offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims," he said. "Of the 23 injured, all were treated. Two are still in hospital, but their condition isn't serious and there is no risk [of any more deaths]."

The local government has opened a phone line to aid those who need help coping with the tragedy.

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