Sunday, November 25, 2007

Death at the Fonte Nova

Not many details yet, but seven or eight people (accounts differ) are reported to have lost their lives at a Brazilian Serie C match at the Estadio Fonte Nova (pictured) in Salvador when a stand collapsed at the end of match between Bahia and Vila Nova.

Bahia and Vila Nova had tied 0-0, a result which meant Bahia gained promotion to the second division. Amidst the celebrations and fans jumping up and down, a section of concrete in the uppermost stands opened up and several people fell to their deaths, according to the Associated Press. Correioweb is reporting that 40 people were injured. O Globo says only 7 people were killed (4 men and 3 women) and that the dead plunged 15 metres. O Globo is also reporting that the National Association of Architects and Engineers releases a study just three weeks ago calling the stadium the country's worst, with major beams and pillars described as "compromised".

Although the stadium is Bahia's home ground, they do not own the structure, which belongs to the state government. Conflicting stories are emerging about safety conditions in the structure. The Firemen's Union is saying that they were reporting problems in the structure as early as last year. The state government has replied that it has engineering reports from earlier this year which certified that the stadium was safe up to its maximum capacity of 60,000 fans. However unconfirmed stories are circulating that the stadium was filled to overcapacity and that the turnstiles may have been left unguarded after the start of the match. Club officials are firmly denying these stories.

Although this incident highlights the kinds of infrastructure challenges Brazil faces in its task of hosting the 2014 World Cup, it doesn't bring into questions any aspects of their bid. Although Salvador is expected to be a World Cup site, it was known that the present stadium was not up to snuff and a new stadium in the city was from the start part of the 2014 plan.

More as it comes in.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What horrible news. Keep us updated, AG.

8:46 PM  
Blogger Chris Paul said...

That is horrid. Unlike my usual wont I have no quirky comments to add.

I will say however that it is unsurpsing that this took place more in the north of Brazil, which is more black and indigenous, than the south which is more white and european. The tragedy does highlight the racial and economic north south divide of South America's largest country. Despite a good economy and Lula's government sometimes paying more than just lip service to ideas of equality these divisions still exist. I hope that, in its way, the world cup helps to iron some of these out. It is going to take work and management from the Brazilain government for any improvements in the country's infrastructure to be anything more than cosmentic however...

5:30 AM  

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