Construction accident at Brazil World Cup stadium kills two

Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:44pm EST
 
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By Eduardo Simões and Brian Winter

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Two workers were killed on Wednesday when a crane collapsed at the stadium hosting the opening match of next year's World Cup of soccer, causing damage to the exterior and renewing questions about whether Brazil will be ready to host the event on time.

Construction workers had been racing to finish the stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, prior to a December deadline imposed by world soccer body FIFA.

Andres Sanchez, a former president for the Corinthians soccer club who is helping oversee construction, told reporters that a crane collapsed while lifting a piece of the stadium's roof into place, sending the piece tumbling down.

He said the cause of the accident was still unclear, adding that any possible delay to construction was "the least of our worries."

Odebrecht SA, the industrial conglomerate building the stadium, said it planned to restart work at the site on Monday, but the union representing the workers said construction could be frozen for up to 30 days while authorities investigate.

Two workers at the site were killed, Sanchez said, with no additional casualties. Emergency officials had previously given conflicting information on the death toll and injuries.

The incident casts yet another shadow over Brazil's preparations for the World Cup, which have been plagued by delays, accidents, cost overruns, and public anger over government waste that contributed to massive nationwide street protests last year.

Workers have now been killed at three World Cup stadiums - in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, and Manaus. Officials have expressed worries about facilities in Manaus and Cuiabá being ready by a December deadline, and Wednesday's accident seems likely to delay Sao Paulo as well, though it's unclear for how long.   Continued...

 
A man takes a picture of a crane that collapsed on the site of the Arena Sao Paulo stadium, known as "Itaquerao", which will host the opening soccer match of the 2014 World Cup, in Sao Paulo November 27, 2013. REUTERS/Nacho Doce