Work halted at World Cup stadium marked by death

SAO PAULO (AP) Labor officials are halting construction in part of the World Cup stadium where a worker died this weekend, creating a problem for Brazilian organizers trying to get the venue ready for the tournament’s opening match in less than three months.

Fast Engenharia, the construction company in charge of the temporary seats, said in a statement that it received the notification from Sao Paulo’s labor secretariat late Monday.

The officials said the installation of the temporary seats must be stopped until additional safety measures are implemented by constructors.

Fabio Hamilton da Cruz, 23, died after falling from about 26 feet while working on the temporary structures on Saturday.

Authorities said an initial probe showed he didn’t connect himself to a safety cable at the time of the accident. According to witness accounts, the worker said he only had a ”quick thing” to finish at the site.

Fast Engenharia said the worker had all required safety equipment available to him.

According to the UOL website, the labor officials said protective netting could’ve prevented the death even if the worker didn’t use the safety cable.

”Company directors on Tuesday will analyze the technical demands made by (labor officials) and then will make an announcement about the case and its consequences to the construction timetable,” Fast Engenharia said in its statement.

FIFA and the local World Cup organizing committee did not immediately answer a request for comment on Monday.

Construction was already behind schedule at the Itaquerao stadium because of the damage caused by another accident that killed two workers following a crane collapse in late November. A giant roofing structure fell on part of the stadium’s facade, significantly pushing back the stadium’s date of completion.

The Itaquerao was one of the six stadiums that were not finished by the end of last year as requested by FIFA. Local organizers said it would be ready in April, but soccer’s governing body expected the venue to be completed in mid-May, about a month before the June 12 opener.

About 20,000 temporary seats were being added to the new stadium to increase its capacity for the high-profile inaugural match between host Brazil and Croatia.

The Brazilian club Corinthians, which owns the stadium, declared a three-day mourning period after the death but didn’t stop construction at the site. Constructor Odebrecht said Monday that work in the rest of the stadium will continue as scheduled.

Two other stadiums remain under construction for Brazil’s first World Cup since 1950, one in the wetlands city of Cuiaba and another in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba. Infrastructure work across Brazil remains far from completed, but authorities insist the country will be ready for soccer’s showcase event.

Seven workers have died in accidents at construction sites of World Cup venues so far.

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