With just two days to go until the 2014 World Cup opener in Sao Paulo, an accident at a construction project to build a monorail in Brazil’s largest city has killed a worker.
The incident occurred near Brazil’s busiest domestic airport, and comes as public sector strikes, mass unrest and crippling delays threatened to overshadow the start of the biggest event in world football this Thursday.
The monorail project is itself an example of a massive infrastructure which the Brazilian government said would be a positive legacy from hosting the World Cup.
But in 2011, just a year after construction began, officials had already declared that it would not be ready in time.
Authorities said one man was killed and another injured yesterday when a large concrete support beam fell from an under-construction section of the 17.7km monorail track.
An investigation into the cause of the accident is under way, officials said.
The monorail was supposed to ease congestion in the city before the arrival of fans from around the world, linking the Congonhas airport with three metro lines.
But the metro system itself has been paralysed by a workers’ strike ahead of the tournament.
According to O Globo, the subway operator Metro issued a statement saying it “regretted the accident that happened during the work on monorail Line 17”.
The identity of the victim is yet to be released.
Brazil's preparations for the World Cup have been marred by accidents and missed deadlines.
Last November, two workers were killed when a crane fell into a corner of the Corinthians Arena, which will host the tournament opener between Brazil and Croatia from 9pm on 12 June.
Fans have already begun arriving in Sao Paulo for the World Cup, and were met with extensive traffic jams and long delays after police used tear gas to tackle striking metro workers, protesting over a pay dispute.
Union bosses announced that the strike would be suspended for today and Wednesday – and that a vote will be held to decide whether or not it resumes before Thursday’s match.
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