The Itaquerao Stadium for the 2014 World Cup opener in Brazil kills three people before a major collapse, authorities said. The accident could delay the delivery in Sao Paulo by FIFA’s December deadline to have all 12 venues ready.
“I don’t want to know about FIFA right now, we are worried about the families of the victims,” former Corinthians president Andres Sanchez told a news conference.
Work was immediately halted, which was practically completed before the collapse.
Television images showed a huge metal structure buckled atop the stadium, destroying part of the stands in the east side of the venue. A LED panel installed outside the venue also was hit.
Firefighter official Mauro Lopes said in a radio interview that at least three people died in the accident, which apparently happened when a crane collapsed on top of the metal structure. The crane was installing what was the last part of the structure.
Brazilian club Corinthians, which owns the stadium, released a brief statement “lamenting” the accident.
Constructor Odebrecht said it was already investigating what happened.
Brazil has been plagued by a series of setbacks including cost overruns, stadium delays, accidents, labor strife and massive street protests in the run-up to the June tournament, once envisioned as a coming out party for South America’s largest nation, which is also scheduled to host the Olympics in 2016.
Wednesday’s accident at Sao Paulo’s Itaquerao stadium occurred when a construction crane crashed into a 500-ton metal structure that in turn cut through the outer walls of the venue, destroying rows of seats and slamming into a massive LED panel that runs across the stadium’s facade.
Sanchez said two people were confirmed dead and nobody else was injured. A fire department official had said earlier that three people had died.
One of the workers, 42-year-old Fabio Luis Pereira, was inside a truck that was hit by the metal structure. The other, 44-year-old Ronaldo Oliveira dos Santos, was resting in an area which was supposed to be isolated.
”Unfortunately nobody saw him and he himself knew that he was not supposed to be there,” Sanchez said. ”He was napping and unfortunately there wasn’t time for him to get out.”
The accident happened at lunchtime, so not many of the nearly 1,700 employees working on the venue were on site when the crane collapsed on top of the metal structure, causing the deadly domino effect.