Two people were killed yesterday when a section of an elevated coastal cycle path built as a legacy project for the Rio 2016 Olympics was obliterated by a huge wave.
A third person is thought to be missing after the wave apparently swept up a rocky cliff and lifted a 50-m stretch of the Tim Maia bike path – inaugurated only in January this year – before dashing it onto the rocks and surf below.
Built on metal pillars set into the cliff, the $12.5m cycle route was heralded as a successful Olympic legacy project when it was inaugurated on 17 January, according to the Associated Press (AP).
No Olympic events were to be held on the path itself but its collapse raises new concerns over substandard construction ahead of the Olympic games which start in August.
Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes, who was in Greece for the lighting of the Olympic torch, was quoted in a statement as calling the accident "unpardonable", and saying he would fly back to Rio immediately to follow investigations into the cause of the collapse, AP reports.
When the structure was inaugurated, Paes hailed it as "the most beautiful bike path in the world".
The company that built the cycle path is called Concremat, AP reports.
After the collapse, which occurred during a public holiday, helicopters were despatched to the scene and managed to pull two survivors from the turbulent sea, say local media.
One of the deceased was identified as a 54-year-old father of one who had been jogging on the path when the wave hit, AP reports.
Photograph: Huge waves destroyed a section of a new coastal cycle path in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 21 April 2016 (Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images)