The final section of the Sao Paulo stadium that is scheduled to host the 2014 World Cup's opening match collapsed as the result of a crane accident Wednesday, reportedly killing two people. According to one worker at the venue, it could have been much worse if it hadn't happened at lunchtime.
The 70,000-seat venue, which wasn't completed in time to be used for last summer's Confederations Cup, was nearly finished and on schedule to meet FIFA's end-of-year deadline for all 12 World Cup grounds. From the AP:
Television images showed a huge metal structure buckled atop the stadium, destroying part of the stands in the east side of the venue. A LED panel installed outside the venue also was hit.
Firefighter official Mauro Lopes said in a radio interview that at least three people died in the accident, which apparently happened when a crane collapsed on top of the metal structure. The crane was installing what was the last part of the structure.
It's unclear how much this will set back construction of the Itaquerao stadium, which is owned by Corinthians and will become the team's new home after the World Cup. Five other venues that weren't as far along as this one are also running up against the FIFA deadline.
From the Guardian:
Corinthians also announced the club would respect seven days of mourning for the victims of the tragedy.
The stadium has been evacuated and, according to globo.com, the rescue effort is being led by the fire department with ambulances and a military police helicopter also on hand to help.
One worker, José Mario da Silva, said: "I walked right underneath the crane on the way to lunch. If it hadn't collapsed at lunchtime, a lot more people would have died."
Here's a series of images from Brazilian site Globo that shows where the section being attached was supposed to go and the aftermath of the collapse...