Death Toll in Rio High-Rise Collapse Rises to Six

  • W460
  • W460

The death toll from the collapse of three high-rise buildings in downtown Rio has risen to six, firefighters said Friday, as rescuers continued to comb through the mountain of rubble.

Some 20 people are still missing following the collapse late Wednesday of three buildings -- of 20, 10, and four stories -- in a commercial area that is bustling during the day but mostly deserted at night.

The disaster could have been far more deadly if it had happened during the day, and it raised fresh questions about Brazil's preparations to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Rescuers were still at work early Friday digging through the rubble, and local media cited Colonel Sergio Simoes of the civil defense as saying that the search operation would continue for another 48 hours.

The three buildings collapsed nearly simultaneously for as yet unknown reasons, though authorities said they did not believe an explosion had occurred, as witnesses initially reported.

Brazilian authorities are racing to build or renovate 12 stadiums around the country in time for the Cup, one of the world's premier sporting events.

Last month football's ruling body FIFA warned Brazil about delays in the progress of construction projects expected to be ready for the four-yearly extravaganza.

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