Crane Collapse At São Paulo's Itaquera Stadium To Delay Completion Until February
The damage caused Wednesday in a "deadly accident" at the stadium that will host the opening match of the World Cup in Brazil will "set back work by two months," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Two men died at São Paulo's Itaquera stadium when a "1,500-ton crane collapsed as it raised the final piece of the arena's roof." Structural engineer Jörg Spangenberg of Stuttgart, Germany-based engineering company Werner Sobek said that the incident "will delay completion to late February." Spangenberg added that the accident "could have been much worse and threatened more lives." Spangenberg: "If the crane had collapsed another 20 degrees it would have hit the main structure. Then it would have been impossible to finish before the World Cup, and even more disastrous." Spangenberg also said he had "little or no doubt" that the 70,000-seat arena would "be ready for the first game" (BLOOMBERG, 11/29). The AP's Tales Azzoni reported an inspection on Friday confirmed that "there is no structural damage to the stands of the stadium" and more than 1,300 workers are "expected back at the building site at the start of next week." The investigation into the cause of the accident "continued with police planning to talk to the crane operator, but the interrogations were postponed until next week." A police inspector said that the crane operator is "not yet suspected of any wrongdoing but is considered a key witness to the accident." Civil defense authorities said that they were "following three lines of investigation: human error, mechanical problems and instability with the ground underneath the crane" (AP, 11/29).
BRAZIL SCRAMBLING: The AP reported even before a crane "dramatically collapsed and killed two workers at the Sao Paulo stadium, it was clear World Cup organizers would have their hands full trying to deliver all 12 venues by FIFA's end-of-December deadline." Wednesday's accident "immediately raised doubts about Brazil's preparedness to host football's showcase event." The timing could "not have been worse," putting the country under "even more pressure" just days before the int'l football community "begins arriving for a high-profile World Cup draw" (AP, 11/30).