Fans killed after stadium bleacher collapses

November 25, 2007

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- A section of stands at a soccer stadium in northeastern Brazil gave way Sunday as fans cheered at the end of a game, killing eight people, police said.

At least 60,000 were in the stadium for the game at the Fonte Nova stadium in the coastal city of Salvador when the victims fell several stories to the ground after a hole several yards wide opened in the concrete floor of a section of the highest bleachers.

At least nine people fell through and eight of them died, said Maj. Edmilson Tavares of the city's federal police. He said he could not immediately confirm how many people were hurt.

The accident happened as fans of the Bahia club went into a wild celebration, storming the field when their team managed a 0-0 tie with Vila Nova which secured Bahia a place in the nation's second division.

Globo TV reported that fans had been jumping up and down in glee, and that dozens of people were injured.

Many fans did not realize that the bleachers had given way and continued to celebrate by swarming the field after the game.

The stadium was built in 1951, according to the Web site of Salvador's A Tarde newspapers.

A survey of soccer stadiums released last month by Brazil's Sinaeco association of architects and engineers said the Fonte Nova's stands were "in ruins," A Tarde reported.

The newspaper said Fonte Nova was evaulated as part of a study of Brazilian soccer venues because Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup. Salvador would almost certainly get some of the games.

Brazil, which has won a record five World Cups, was awarded the right last month to host 2014 tournament Tuesday by FIFA's executive committee. Latin America's largest country hosted the competition once before, losing to Uruguay in the 1950 final.

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


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press