RIO DE JANEIRO – Yes, those stairs really are swaying back and forth.
That's right outside Maracanã Stadium, Brazil's landmark soccer venue that once held 199,854 people for the 1950 FIFA World Cup final and is also the site of this year's title match. The rickety staircase shown in the video above leads fans from the stadium to the nearby metro stop and it is in desperate need of reinforcement – brackets, support beams, Duct tape…really, anything looks like it'd be an improvement.
The video was taken shortly after Argentina's 2-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday in the stadium's first of six World Cup matches as fans rushed toward the metro. As you can see, the staircase rocks noticeably under the weight of the thousands of fans ascending simultaneously.
The Rio de Janeiro state government issued a statement saying the staircase was inspected, reinforced and then re-inspected again Tuesday to ensure fan safety.
And after all of those said changes, it looks like this:
Inspires confidence, doesn't it?
Worth noting from personal experience:
• Yes, the wood moves when you walk on it, as one fan who used the stairs after Argentina's win described to the Associated Press. The boards are cobbled together in a way that boards teeter when even one person uses the staircase.
• Construction workers were still putting the finishing touches on the stairs mere days before Sunday's match (this reporter picked up his credential at the stadium on Thursday and they had caution tape up to block the entrance to the stairs as workers hammered away and tightened various elements).
• There is a perfectly functional (and safe) cement incline with an entrance about 200 yards away from the wood-on-steel scaffold. Why they felt the need to construct a makeshift version to save fans a few hundred feet and scare the daylights out of them in the process, we could not tell you.
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