At least two dead as favela building collapses in Rio de Janeiro

At least two dead and three buried under rubble as illegally-built block of homes collapses in Rio de Janeiro favela

  • Accident happened in Rio das Pedras, west Rio de Janeiro on Thursday morning 
  • Collapse was followed by a fire, neighbours said, before safety authorities came
  • Tragedy has underlined the precarious state of many of the area’s structures
  • Region is the birthplace of the city’s so-called ‘militias’ and remains in their grip 

At least two people have died and three are buried under rubble after a favela tower block collapsed in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday morning.    

Local residents said they heard a booming noise that was followed by a fire, causing panic in the western neighbourhood of Rio das Pedras.

More than 100 firefighters and other public safety workers rushed to the scene. A man, a woman and a child were buried, authorities said.

According to a public safety source, who requested anonymity as he was not permitted to speak to media, only the woman survived.

‘Unfortunately, we lost the other two.’

At least two people have died and three are buried under rubble after a favela tower block collapsed in Rio das Pedras, in westRio de Janeiro on Thursday morning

More than 100 firefighters and other public safety workers rushed to the scene. A man, a woman and a child were buried, authorities said

The construction in Rio das Pedras, a working class area in west Rio de Janeiro, collapsed around 3:20am

The construction in Rio das Pedras damaged nearby residences as it collapsed (pictured, firefighters check over damage caused to other houses)

The construction in Rio das Pedras collapsed around 3:20 a.m. and also damaged nearby residences.

The building consisted of four small homes built atop one another, according to a spokesperson for the Fire Department. 

The accident has underlined the precarious state of many structures in parts of the city where authorities say organised crime is heavily involved in construction. 

The collapsed building consisted of four small homes built precariously atop one another, according to a spokesperson for the Fire Department

Firefighters pulled a woman alive from the debris of the collapsed building on Thursday morning

Authorities said the tragic accident had highlighted the precarious state of many buildings in the Rio das Pedras neighbourhood

Local residents said they heard a booming noise that was followed by a fire, causing panic in the western neighbourhood of Rio das Pedras

Firefighters continued to search for three people buried under the rubble on Thursday morning

Firefighters survey the damage caused to local infrastructure after a building collapsed in the Rio das Pedras neighbourhood

Firefighters and safety officials continued the search for three people stuck under the rubble into the morning after a building collapsed during the night

Firefighters carefully search through the debris of the building, where three people are still trapped following the accident on Thursday morning

Residents looked on as firefighters and rescue teams picked through the debris of a building that collapsed in Rio das Pedras on Thursday morning

Firefighters pull a woman from the debris after an early morning building collapse in Rio das Pedras

Firefighters are joined by a rescue search dog as they continue to look for victims of a building collapse in Rio das Pedras, west Rio de Janeiro

A rescue worker looks for victims of an early morning building collapse at the Rio das Pedras favela in Rio de Janeiro

Firefighters search for more survivors after pulling some from the debris of a four-floor building that collapsed overnight in Rio das Pedras

Firefighters and rescue teams look for victims of an early morning building collapse at the Rio das Pedras favela in Rio de Janeiro

Rio das Pedras is the birthplace of Rio de Janeiro’s so-called ‘militias,’ and it remains firmly in the grasp of the organised crime groups.      

While originally created to defend inhabitants from drug gangs, militias now act as crime outfits in their own right.

These groups have grown in power in the last two decades, operating increasingly complex, profitable and deadly rackets throughout the city. 

Among their money-making operations, they build residential structures without official permission or approval, and rent the buildings out, sometimes to disastrous consequences.

The building that collapsed on Thursday was not approved by authorities, sources involved in the rescue said.

In 2019, a militia-constructed building in the adjacent neighbourhood of Itanhanga collapsed, killing two. 

Firefighters rescue a woman from the debris of a collapsed building in Rio das Pedras, known as the birthplace of Rio de Janeiro’s so-called ‘militias’

Rescue teams inspected the damage caused by an early morning building collapse in Rio das Pedras on Thursday

Firefighters continue to search for survivors after pulling a woman alive from the debris on Thursday

Firefighters rescue a woman from under rubble in the Rio das Pedras area in west Rio de Janeiro

Authorities said the tragedy underlined the precarious state of many of the structures in the area

Residents hold their heads in the hands while watching firefighters and rescue teams comb through debris of a building collapse in Rio das Pedras on Thursday morning

Authorities said local militias had built the precarious residential structures without permission or approval resulting in these types of tragedies

Firefighters and rescue teams continue to search for people trapped under the rubble after a building collapsed in Rio das Pedras on Thursday morning 

Firefighters and rescue workers carefully surveyed the damage, looking for victims of an early morning building collapse in Rio das Pedras, Brazil

The building that collapsed on Thursday was not approved by authorities, sources involved in the rescue said

 The construction in Rio das Pedras damaged nearby residences as it collapsed (pictured, firefighters check over damage caused to other houses)

In 2019, a militia-constructed building in the adjacent neighbourhood of Itanhanga collapsed, killing two

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