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Rescue worker remove a car after a building collapsed in Rio last night AP Photo/Felipe Dana

Video: two buildings collapse in Rio de Janeiro

The incident highlights authorities’ failure to improve infrastructure ahead of the World Cup in 2014 and Olympics in 2016.

TWO MULTI-STOREY BUILDINGS in Rio De Janeiro collapsed last night leaving rubble strewn across a wide area of the Brazilian city.

As many as 11 people are believed to be inside the buildings with five people rescued BBC News reports including one man pulled from the rubble after he called a friend on his mobile phone.

Streets were filled with masonry and cars covered with debris.  The two buildings, one of which was 20 storeys high, were located near the Municipal Theatre and the headquarters of oil giant Petrobras. As they came down the crushed a four-storey construction site.

Electricity in the area was shut off for safety reasons. The cause of the accident is not immediately clear although there are witness reports of a strong smell of natural gas in the area.

AP reports that Rio’s mayor said there were doubts a gas leak caused the accident. ”There apparently was not an explosion. The collapse occurred because of structural damages. I don’t think there was a gas leak,” he said.

One witness told Reuters: ”It was like an earthquake. First some pieces of the buildings started to fall down. People started to run. And then it all fell down at once.”

The incident is seen as the latest which highlights the failure of the country’s authorities to improve infrastructure ahead of its hosting of the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. Three months ago a gas leak ripped through a restaurant in the city, killing three people.

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