SAO PAULO - Two workers were killed Wednesday when a crane collapsed at a stadium set to host next year's World Cup opener, raising fresh doubts about Brazil's ability to finish work for the tournament on schedule.
Andres Sanchez, operations director at the Arena Corinthians site, said the workers, aged 44 and 42, were crushed to death when a crane hoisting a 500-ton metallic piece to the top of the roof collapsed.
He said the cause of the accident was not yet known but was under investigation.
He insisted that the overall structure was not affected.
The accident came amid a scramble to meet a December 31 set by football's governing body FIFA to complete work at the venue.
A third worker was rushed to hospital with injuries after the accident, which brought a shocked response from FIFA president Sepp Blatter and condolences from the Brazilian ministry of sport.
"I'm deeply saddened by the tragic death of workers @Corinthians arena today," Blatter said on Twitter.
"Our heartfelt condolences are with the families."
Work on the site has been suspended for three days of mourning until next Monday, after which 30 per cent of the site will be closed to assist the investigation.
Jair Paca de Lima, the civil defence coordinator, said the accident might have been caused by "an error in the operation of the crane or by the weight of the structure which was being lifted."