A funeral procession in the northeastern city of Recife in northeastern Brazil was hit with tragedy on Sunday night, as an ambulance’s standstill during the parade resulted in the collapse of a section of a pedestrian bridge that sent more than 30 people into the Volta Grande River.
The death toll was put at 35, with 23 were immediately pulled from the river and treated for injuries, police told the Associated Press.
The newspaper Época E Brazil reported that 25 people were injured. Eleven of them are in critical condition, according to O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper. According to Reuters, the dead include children and adults.
President Michel Temer said that the government was coordinating with state authorities “to establish the amount of funds required for a full reconstruction of the concrete bridge in question,” President of Temer’s office said in a statement.
The city of Guarulhos, where the procession was to take place, halted traffic to attend to the victims, the report said.
At approximately 8:10 p.m. local time, residents from Jardim Internacional claimed that the city of Paramari called them and said that this was an emergency and that the bridge had collapsed. In a post on the Jardim Internacional’s Facebook page, the residents said they watched a bunch of people being pulled out of the river. They said the first call they received came from the police.
Local governments are facing an influx of scrutiny over their preparedness to respond to disasters.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Brazilian hospitals say they do not have enough equipment to treat mass casualties. Doctors also say the country has no well-organized medical response protocol.
In this week’s election, a record number of people said they would not vote or were undecided.