7 Brazilian soccer fans die in bleacher collapse

Press- At least seven soccer fans died after a section of stands collapsed at a
stadium criticized for its crumbling infrastructure, sending the victims
plunging to the ground from the highest bleachers.

victims fell through a hole that suddenly opened beneath their feet Sunday
night at the Fonte Nova stadium in the northeastern coastal city of

Salvador as fans jumped
up and down at the end of a game.

initially said eight people were killed, but the government of Bahia state where

Salvador is the
state capital on Monday said seven died and several were hospitalized with
severe injuries.

victims fell 49 feet through a 10-foot-wide hole,
state’s secretary of sports, Nilton Vasconcelos, told the official Agencia
Brasil news agency.

said it was not clear why collapse happened, but the 56-year-old stadium was
recently highlighted as the worst of 29 soccer venues across
America’s largest nation in a survey conducted by a Brazilian
association of engineers and architects.

accident happened as the game ended, when fans of the Bahia soccer team went
into a wild celebration, storming the field because their team managed a
goalless draw with Vila Nova, securing Bahia a place in the nation’s second

Fans were
jumping up and down in glee when the hole opened in the concrete floor of the

60,000 people were at the stadium for the game, and many didn’t realize that
the section of bleachers had given way as they invaded the field in

stadium was built in 1951, and the soccer stadium survey released last month by

Sinaeco association of architects and engineers said Fonte Nova’s stands were
“in ruins.”

group’s report also featured pictures of crumbling support beams under the
stands, and characterized Fonte Nova overall in “pitiful state, (with) no
comfort or security for users.”

The survey
was conducted because

will host the 2014 World Cup, and the association wanted to give authorities an
idea of what sort of improvements are needed to make the tournament a success.

Salvador would almost
certainly get some of the games.

, which has won a record five World
Cups, was awarded the right last month to host the 2014 tournament by FIFA,
soccer’s governing body.
Latin America’s
largest country hosted the competition once before, in 1950.

The state
governor of
Bahia state, Jacques Wagner,
ordered the Fonte Nova stadium closed while authorities investigate the cause
of the accident.

said the stadium has undergone renovations in the past, but that none of them
dealt with its structural integrity.

Before the
Bahia state officials were
considering a renovation of Fonte Nova to host World Cup games. They were also
looking into the possibility of building a new stadium for

Salvador, a major Brazilian tourism

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