Judge Issues $48m Fine Over Deadly Sinkhole In Brazil

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A judge in Brazil has fined officials and construction companies R$240m ($48.3m; £38.3m) over the collapse of a building site in the city of São Paulo.

Seven people were killed in the accident in 2007, when an enormous sinkhole suddenly opened up, swallowing pedestrians and vehicles.

Workers were digging a tunnel to extend the metro system in the Pinheiros neighbourhood when the earth gave way. The judge said the collapse was due to “negligent” and “dangerous” acts.

Those in charge of the construction project ignored warnings from experts, who said “urgent” support structures were needed in the tunnel, and pushed ahead with the work to gain time, Judge Marcos de Lima Porta said, as reported by Brazilian newspaper O Globo.

The former president of São Paulo’s Metrô, an engineer, and a construction inspector were among the six people and six companies ordered to pay compensation. One of the workers died in 2018, but the judge ruled that his heirs must pay his fine.

The 2,200-sq-m (23,680-sq-ft) hole buried a minibus, destroyed seven houses and caused the displacement of some 200 people.

Aerial pictures of the site, which was in a busy area of São Paulo, showed how huge the crater was – with lorries falling on top of each other.

Prosecutors in the case said the disaster had caused “extraordinarily intense” trauma to the population of São Paulo, Brazil’s busiest city.

Those convicted are expected to appeal

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