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Ricardo Trade, CEO of the local World Cup organizing committee, said only local authorities would determine if there is a need to suspend construction, but he didn’t “believe this is going to cause delays” with the World Cup opener nearly seven months away on June 12.

FIFA released a statement on Wednesday saying that “the safety of workers is the top priority” for football’s governing body.

The stadium was about 94 percent finished before Wednesday’s accident. The metal structure that collapsed cut through the stadium’s outer walls, destroying part of the outside of the building and slamming into a giant LED panel that runs across the facade.

The newspaper Estado de S. Paulo said public prosecutors had previously pointed to 50 irregularities at the venue, including some related to emergency drills.

World Cup preparations have been plagued by setbacks including cost overruns, stadium delays, accidents, labor strife and huge street protests in the run-up to the June tournament, once envisioned as a coming-out party for South America’s largest nation, which is also scheduled to host the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Wednesday’s weren’t the first fatalities at 2014 World Cup stadiums. Three workers have died in accidents at three construction sites over the past two years, and one stadium had work halted for nearly a week this year because of safety concerns.

The web portal R7 reported Thursday that 23 construction workers were killed in on-site accidents and another 132 were injured over the past five years in the city of Sao Paulo alone. The report said it had compiled statistics from the municipal health ministry.


Associated Press writers Jill Langlois in Sao Paulo and Jenny Barchfield in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report.