A portion of the stadium that will host the opening game of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil collapsed on Wednesday, killing at least two people and causing significant damage. It was just the latest setback hampering next year’s World Cup.
Part of a 500-ton metal structure cut through the outer walls of Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, destroying some of the seats on the eastern side of the building and crashing into a huge LED panel that runs across the stadium’s facade. The accident could further delay delivery of the stadium, which was reportedly almost finished before Wednesday’s collapse.
FIFA has set a December deadline for all World Cup venues to be finished.
Local media is reporting that a third person has been hospitalized in critical condition, but the death toll only stands at two for now. The accident happened during lunch time, so many of the workers were not on site when a crane collapsed on top of the metal structure, causing the rest of the damage to occur in a domino effect.
Itaquerao Stadium has cost nearly $360 million and will seat nearly 70,000 people, it will host the event’s opening game on June 12 when Brazil will play. About 20,000 seats will be temporary and installed just for the World Cup opener.
Brazil is running up against the clock to deliver the final six World Cup stadiums by the end of the year. Itaquerao’s construction had gone quickly and smoothly compared to other venues. FIFA has been pressuring local organizers to make sure all of the venues are ready by the December deadline so all test events can take place in time for the World Cup.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he was “deeply saddened by the tragic death of workers” at the stadium and sent his condolences to the families.
As of now the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is looking like a disaster preparation-wise.