An elevated cycleway has collapsed into the sea killing at least two people just months before the 2016 Olympics is due to take place in the Brazilian city. A 50m (150ft) section of the raised cycleway above a beach is said to have collapsed as huge waves struck the construction. According to local media, the cycleway had only been completed three months previously.
Two fatalities have been confirmed but eye-witnesses said up to five people were on the raised section when it smashed down to the shore. Two bodies were seen being laid out on the beach and a search and rescue operation is taking place for survivors. Witnesses told the Portuguese-language O Globo newspaper a huge wave broke the cycleway.
"People stopped on the bike lane," said Damiao Pinheiro. "They were taking pictures of the waves - they were huge. Then I saw the biggest one ever. It lifted the cycleway and a piece came off. I saw the people falling. It is really sad."
Cyclist Ademir Guedes had a lucky escape as he cycled along the walkway. Just before he reached the section apparently washed away a witness told him of the danger. "I thought he was joking," Guedes told O Globo. "I never imagined a newly built bike path would collapse. I went slowly to the edge of the cliff. Then drivers started shouting at me warning of the risk."
Just four months before the Games open on 5 August, there are a number of concerns about Rio's suitability including security, street violence, the Zika virus and possible power shortages. Just two days ago (19 April) the Association of Olympic International Sports Federations voiced concerns about the city's preparedness for the Games.
Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi and sports director Kit McConnell will stay in Rio until the Games begin to deal with any problems which may arise. However similar concerns were raised ahead of the 2014 World Cup Finals which were generally considered to be a success.