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Brazilians say worker not wearing safety cable

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SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Brazilian authorities say the initial investigation into the accident that killed a worker at the stadium that will host the World Cup opener in a few months showed he likely wasn't wearing a required safety cable.

The worker died on Saturday after falling about 26 feet (8 metres) while helping install temporary seats at the Itaquerao stadium, marking the seventh death in accidents at World Cup venues in Brazil.

The police official in charge of investigating the accident said initial witness accounts showed worker Fabio Hamilton da Cruz was not connected to his safety cable because he only had a "quick thing" to finish at the site.

"The informal hearings that I made with employees who were next to the victim at the time of the fall show that he neglected to use the security equipment," Inspector Rafael Pavarina told The Associated Press' partner agency SNTV. "By the time he broke free of the safety cable, he was alerted by his colleagues, 'Connect yourself to the safety cable,' and he replied 'It's a quick thing."'

The 23-year-old worker sustained multiple traumas and severe head injuries. He was pronounced dead just before he was expected to undergo surgery.

Construction company Fast Engenharia, in charge of the installation of the temporary seats, said in statements released after the accident that the worker was "trained" and "carried all the required safety equipment" for his work.

"It seems that it was not a lack of equipment," Pavarina said. "Apparently he was a victim of his own negligence."

FIFA and local World Cup organizers lamented the death and said they will wait for results of the accident's investigation.

It was the third workers' death at the Itaquerao stadium, which will open the World Cup on June 12. Two men died late last year when a crane collapsed while hoisting a 500-ton roofing structure.

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

Brazilian club Corinthians, which owns the stadium, declared a three-day mourning period but didn't stop construction at the site. Work was halted in the area where the accident happened but continued in the rest of the stadium.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 31, 2014 C10

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