Sta­dium death

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Manaus, Brazil

Brazil is jolted by a fourth fatal World Cup sta­dium ac­ci­dent when a young worker fell to his death, height­en­ing safety wor­ries.

Brazil was jolted on Satur­day by a fourth fatal World Cup sta­dium ac­ci­dent when a young con­struc­tion worker fell to his death, height­en­ing safety wor­ries six months from the start of the tour­na­ment. The lat­est fa­tal­ity, at the Manaus Arena in the north­ern Ama­zo­nia re­gion, will add scru­tiny to the host na­tion’s prepa­ra­tions, with some sta­di­ums be­hind sched­ule and ex­tra shifts be­ing worked in a push to be ready for the soc­cer ex­trav­a­ganza.

Mar­cleudo de Melo Fer­reira plunged 35 me­ters (115 feet) in the early hours while work­ing on the roof of the $200 mil­lion, 42,000-seat ca­pac­ity arena.

He was taken to hos­pi­tal but died just be­fore dawn.

Brazil­ian me­dia re­ported the 22-year-old fell af­ter a cable broke as he pre­pared to fin­ish a night shift. The venue is cur­rently 93 per­cent com­plete and has around 1,900 peo­ple work­ing around the clock to fin­ish its con­struc­tion.

The ac­ci­dent brought to five the num­ber of deaths at event sites, and comes two weeks af­ter two peo­ple died at the Sao Paulo sta­dium sched­uled to host the June 12 open­ing match be­tween Brazil and Croa­tia.

In an un­re­lated in­ci­dent, a con­struc­tion worker died of a heart at­tack while work­ing on a new con­ven­tion center near the sta­dium amid al­le­ga­tions from his fam­ily that he was over­worked.

Satur­day’s sta­dium death was the sec­ond fa­tal­ity at Manaus Arena, which will host Eng­land’s open­ing match on June 15 against Italy, plus three other World Cup matches.

Af­ter the first death in the trop­i­cal city’s sta­dium, the state pub­lic prose­cu­tor de­manded dozens of up­graded se­cu­rity mea­sures, but there has been no word on any progress.

A Jan­uary re­port found work­ing con­di­tions were un­sat­is­fac­tory amid claims work­ers had not been is­sued suf­fi­cient safety equip­ment.

FIFA, which has played down con­cerns over sta­dium de­lays, ex­pressed its sad­ness at the lat­est con­struc­tion death.

“We would like to send our most sin­cere con­do­lences to his fam­ily, rel­a­tives, col­leagues and friends,” soc­cer’s gov­ern­ing body said in a state­ment.

In ad­di­tion to the two Manaus ac­ci­dents and the dou­ble fa­tal­ity in Sao Paulo — a venue that or­ga­niz­ers say will only be com­pleted in midApril — a death oc­curred at a new sta­dium in Brasilia last year.

Manaus was a con­tro­ver­sial choice for a new mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar sta­dium, not least be­cause there is no top club in the area to at­tract fans af­ter the 2014 event.

In Septem­ber, one lo­cal of­fi­cial sug­gested the venue might even be turned into a pro­cess­ing center for pris­on­ers for fear it could oth­er­wise be­come an ex­pen­sive relic.

Fur­ther con­tro­versy came fol­low­ing last week’s World Cup draw when the mayor of Manaus crit­i­cized Eng­land coach Roy Hodg­son for say­ing he wanted to “avoid” the venue.

Hodg­son in­di­cated he in fact wanted his team to be spared the strength-sap­ping hu­mid­ity of the re­gion, par­tic­u­larly since the game has been moved ahead from an evening start to late af­ter­noon to suit Euro­pean tele­vi­sion sched­ules.

Con­struc­tion firm An­drade Gu­tier­rez promised to im­me­di­ately open an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the lat­est ac­ci­dent.

“We re­it­er­ate our com­mit­ment to en­sur­ing the se­cu­rity of ev­ery­one work­ing at the site,” the com­pany said in a state­ment, not­ing work had been halted as a mark of re­spect to the dead man.

“We deeply re­gret the ac­ci­dent.”

A spokesman said the dead man had been work­ing for a com­pany sub­con­tracted to build the venue’s over­head cov­er­ing.

Lo­cal con­struc­tion union leader Cicero Cus­to­dio told the G1 news por­tal that work­ers were ready to strike if con­di­tions did not im­prove.

“Work­ers at the Ama­zo­nia Arena are be­ing ill- treated,” said Cus­to­dio.

“We are be­ing ig­nored by the au­thor­i­ties. I have been talk­ing about con­di­tions at the arena and the risks of night work for some time.

“Ide­ally, there would be a gen­eral strike to show how things re­ally are,” said Cus­to­dio.

Manaus co­or­di­na­tor Miguel Capo­biango Neto has promised the venue will be ready by Dec 20 in time for an inau­gu­ra­tion on Jan 15.

In ad­di­tion to host­ing Eng­land’s game with Italy, Manaus will be the site of Cameroon’s pool match with Croa­tia on June 18, Ger­many vs the United States on June 22 and Hon­duras vs Switzer­land on June 25.

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