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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones