The danger of a new collapse that might bury rescuers is delaying the work of firemen trying to find victims swallowed by a crater that opened Friday, around 3 pm in a São Paulo (in southeastern Brazil)Â subway construction site.
Four bodies have already been found, but at least three others are feared trapped under the rubble. Three of the bodies found had not been identified at the end of the day and hadn't even been taken out of the accident area.
A woman's body was found at the rear of a minibus that fell into the hole. Two others were under and at the side of the vehicle. Authorities say that the bus covered with debris and broken rear window is all twisted and chances that anybody survived are slim.
Rescuers found earlier today the body of AbigailÂ Rossi de Azevedo, 75, a pedestrian who was passing by when the accident occurred at the future site of the Pinheiros metro station. The retired woman was coming back from the doctor and was going to the bus terminal where she is was supposed to meet her husband.
Sílvio Antônio Azevedo, Abigail's son, followed the rescue work until the mother was located, but preferred not to see the body up close when she was dug out from the debris and refused to identify her body "in order to keep the image he had of her alive," as noted by the firemen's chief, colonel João dos Santos de Souza. The woman's identity was established by documents she was carrying.
"The agony was terrible," the son told reporters. "Each thrust of the machine brought my heart to my mouth. I was on the top of the crater when the fireman looked at me and I was then sure that it was her."
The rescue teams are searching for at least three more victims. According to police reports, among the disappeared areÂ the bus driver and fare collector plus two passengers (but there might be as many as 6 passengers), another pedestrian besides Abigail and a truck driver working for Via Amarela, the contractor building the Yellow Line's subway station.
On Saturday, the governor of São Paulo, José Serra, after visiting the site of the disaster had already said that there was very little chance that anyone would be found alive under the rubble: "God willing we will find people alive, but it seems very unlikely."
He informed that the rescue operation had no stopped since the accident but also revealed that two caving-ins had interrupted one of the several efforts being conducted simultaneously.
São Paulo state's Public Security Secretary, Ronaldo Marzagão, announced that the Civilian police began a probe to look into culprits and causes of the subway collapse. The investigation will be conducted by agents of the 3rd Sectional Precinct in PinheirosÂ in the west side.
The coroner's office is also participating actively in the rescue to hasten the process of necropsy and the release of bodies to their families.
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