Death toll from Brazil buildings collapse reaches 17 | world | Hindustan Times
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Death toll from Brazil buildings collapse reaches 17

world Updated: Jan 30, 2012 08:46 IST

The death toll from Brazil's buildings collapse reached 17 on Saturday after rescue workers found two more bodies under the rubble.

Eight of the dead have already been identified by family members, according to authorities, who also said they did not expect to find more survivors three days on from the tragedy and the mission was shifting from rescue to a recovery and cleanup operation.

The number of missing now stood at 22. Rescue team had originally put the number at 26, but later adjusted it downward.

The three office buildings -- of 20, 10, and four stories -- collapsed late Wednesday near Rio's municipal theater on the city's Cinelandia square, a historic district bustling by day but nearly deserted at night.

Local media have reported that the top stories of the tallest building were expanded in recent years, apparently without proper inspection or safety considerations. The building manager insists the construction was all done with city permission.

But apparently permission is not required for inside remodeling and construction the same way as for exterior and structural changes, and some officials believe that may have been behind the structural failure.

There are more than 45,000 tonnes of rubble, so authorities are not ruling out the possibility more remains may be found as the site is cleared.

The disaster raised fresh questions about Brazil's preparations to host the 2014 Football World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Brazil has had several calamities in recent months, including explosions caused by gas leaks, and fatal accidents in poorly maintained amusement parks or in packed streetcars with faulty brakes.

City authorities are scrambling to upgrade the country's infrastructure and to build or renovate 12 stadiums around the country in time for the World Cup, one of the world's premier sporting events.