The bodies of at least four people have been recovered by rescue workers searching through rubble after the collapse of three multi-storey buildings in Rio de Janeiro.

Rescue workers were looking for at least 22 people, but say it is unlikely many will be found alive.

Officials are investigating if illegal building works caused structural problems that led to the collapse.

The buildings, one of which was 20 storeys, collapsed late on Wednesday.

The buildings were located near the Municipal Theatre and the headquarters of oil giant Petrobras. Dozens of emergency workers attended the scene and police cordoned off the area.

Source: BBC News Read more

The buildings were literally a stone’s throw from the famed Cinelândia district which has many historic buildings and is a major tourist attraction.

There have been five bodies recovered so far and 21 people still missing.

Engineers have now almost totally excluded supposed reasons for the collapse with the likely cause to be an illegal removal of a load bearing wall during extensive renovations by the major occupier of the 20 story building, an IT company, who haven’t so far been able to produce architectural and engineering assessments approving the work.