World Cup stadium collapse: Two killed as Sao Paulo Arena Corinthians collapses

Pressure to complete work  on time blamed for fatal accident in Sao Paulo

Rio de Janeiro

Two workmen were killed after a crane crashed into and seriously damaged the stadium due to host the opening match of next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

The crane – believed to be the biggest in Brazil – fell on to one stand of the £220m Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, leading part of it to collapse.

Fabio Luiz Pereira, 42, and Ronaldo Oliveira dos Santos, 44, both of whom had young children, were killed and last night there were conflicting reports of others being injured.

The tragedy came less than a month before the stadium was due to be handed over to Fifa on 31 December, and only nine days before the World Cup draw in Sauipe, near Salvador.

Hundreds of workers were rushing to finish the stadium by installing the final 15-metre metal piece of the roof when the ground underneath the crane gave way, according to local media.

Footage showed the twisted metal structure on the ground amid debris after the accident.

Workers said the death toll could have been higher – as many labourers survived unscathed as the accident happened at about 12.30pm, during their lunch hour.

Jose Mario da Silva, 48, a workman, said: “I had just walked under that crane to go for lunch. If it hadn’t been lunchtime, many more people would have died. I would not be alive. I just heard the noise. They were putting in the last piece of the roof, which was the heaviest.”

Mr Pereira, a driver, died when the cab of his truck was hit by the falling crane.

Another worker, talking anonymously to the Brazilian sports website Lancenet, said labourers had been put under huge pressure to finish the stadium in time.

He said: “It was the last piece [of the roof] that we had to put in place and one thing we said was how much pressure there was.

“As it rained all week, generally they put stones on the ground [underneath the crane] here but this time, they didn’t. It was a little more hectic.”

The accident is the latest blow to construction work to finish the final six of the 12 World Cup stadiums across Brazil before the strict deadline of 31 December imposed by Fifa.

Many of those stadiums have faced delays, with those in Sao Paulo, Manaus and Cuiaba considered particularly unlikely to meet the deadline by observers. Last week the company that is building the Sao Paulo stadium, Odebrecht, said work was 94 per cent complete.

The Itaquerao Stadium where the 2014 World Cup is due to get underway The Itaquerao Stadium where the 2014 World Cup is due to get underway  

But now that deadline seems impossible, with work at the stadium stopped for three days and 30 per cent of the site cordoned off so authorities can investigate the accident.

During the World Cup, the stadium is scheduled to host six games, including the opening match and one of the semi-finals.

A Fifa spokesman said they sent their “heartfelt” condolences and said “the safety of workers is the top priority for Fifa and the federal government”.

Fifa’s secretary general Jérôme Valcke tweeted: “Extremely shocked by the news from Sao Paulo.

“Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this accident.”

To see a gallery of the images, CLICK HERE, or click view gallery

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003