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Bike Path Built for Olympics Collapses in Brazil; 2 Killed

  • VOA News

A portion of an elevated bike path lies below the rest of the structure after the route collapsed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 21, 2016. Two people were killed in the accident.

A portion of an elevated bike path lies below the rest of the structure after the route collapsed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 21, 2016. Two people were killed in the accident.

At least two people were killed Thursday when a newly elevated bike path collapsed in Rio de Janeiro, damaging the city’s credibility as an Olympic host.

City officials said a third person was thought to be missing after a giant wave swept up a rocky cliff, lifted an approximately 50-meter stretch of the bike path and sent it plunging onto the rocks and sea below.

The accident on the Tim Maia bike path was the latest in a series of problems besetting preparations for the August games, which include worries about an outbreak of the Zika virus, political turmoil that threatens to topple President Dilma Rousseff, underwhelming ticket sales and budget cuts amid Brazil's worst recession in decades.

The tragedy came the same day the Olympic flame was lit in Greece — during an elaborate ceremony in Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympics — and began its 15-week journey to Rio.

Some 450 people will carry the torch on a six-day relay across Greece, including a Syrian refugee who has claimed asylum in the country.

The torch will arrive in host country Brazil to begin a relay there on May 3. The flame will go through 83 Brazilian cities and 500 towns with the help of 12,000 torchbearers.

The final person will carry the torch to a cauldron inside Maracana Stadium during the opening ceremony on August 5.

Fans can follow the flame during its travels with a new Twitter account, @OlympicFlame.

The 2016 games will be the first ever held in South America. Carlos Nuzman, chief organizer of the Rio Olympics, said during Thursday's flame-lighting ceremony in Greece that the games "can and will unite" Brazil.

Some information for this report came from AP.

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