Brazil’s beleaguered efforts to ready the city for the 2014 World Cup have taken a dramatic and deadly turn. On Wednesday, a large crane fell on the $355 million Corinthians Arena in São Paulo, killing two workers. The tragic accident was blamed on unstable conditions after several days of heavy rainfall.
Photograph by Globo Sport
São Paulo’s Corinthians Arena, which is set to host the 2014 World Cup opening ceremony, was scheduled to be completed next month. The heavy crane fell on the last section of 500-ton roofing that was being put in place by workers. It has been reported that the project was under tight pressure to be completed on time, with many workers working overtime to meet the completion deadline. The Guardian reports that a safety engineer warned project managers of the dangers of the unstable ground conditions only to have the concerns ignored, ultimately leading to the two deaths. The Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht, has denied all claims of possible negligence, claiming an investigation of the site showed no evidence of unstable ground conditions.
A FIFA spokeman said that further investigations will be necessary, “It is too premature to make any detailed assessment on the situation of the Corinthians Arena as we are still awaiting the technical report to be able to evaluate the scale of the damage.”
Work will continue on the stadium on Monday, after the official mourning period. However, the Brazilian Labor Ministry has prohibited the construction company staff from using the project’s nine other cranes until further safety measures are put in place.