Brazilian authorities have corrected earlier reports and now say two workers were killed Wednesday in a horrific noon-time construction accident at the stadium scheduled to host the opening match of next summer's World Cup.
A fire department official in Sao Paulo originally said three people were killed when a crane collapsed on a corner of the grandstand at Itaquerao Arena, where workers were rushing to complete construction ahead of a December deadline.
Local media said a third worker was hospitalized in critical condition.
Television images showed part of a 500-ton metal structure cut through the outer walls on the east side of the stadium, destroying seats and part of a large LED panel.
The accident will further delay work on the stadium, one of 12 World Cup sites scheduled to be completed next month. Officials in other cities have recently conceded some facilities won't be finished on time.
FIFA, global soccer’s governing body and the group with ultimate responsibility for the World Cup, has been pressuring local organizers to make sure all venues are completed on time so test events can take place as scheduled. FIFA said it would not accept the same delays that plagued stadium construction before the Confederations Cup, when only two venues were ready on time.
But officials were quick to express remorse after Wednesday’s accident.
''We wish to send our heartfelt condolences to the family of the workers who tragically died today,'' FIFA said in a statement, adding that the ''safety of workers is the top priority'' for World Cup organizers.
''We know the safety of all workers has always been paramount for all the construction companies contracted to build the 12 FIFA World Cup stadiums,'' the statement continues. ''The local authorities will fully investigate the reasons behind such a tragic accident.''
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he was ''deeply saddened by the tragic death of workers'' at the Corinthians stadium. ''Our heartfelt condolences are with the families,'' he said.
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said he was ''extremely shocked by the news from Sao Paulo.''
''Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this accident,'' he said.