Brazilian police pursue Itaquerao crane operator


Brazilian police fear crane operator Jose Walter Joaquim is in hiding following last week's Sao Paulo World Cup stadium tragedy.

Joaquim, 56, was allegedly in control of the LR 1130 Liebherr crane that crashed into the Itaquerao stadium's facade last Wednesday (Nov. 27), killing two workers.

Police have been unable to locate Joaquim and neighbors say he has abandoned his home, Folha de S. Paulo reported on Monday.

"Joaquim has not been seen at the house since the day of the accident," the report said. "Hours after the incident there were strange comings and goings of cars from the home."

Police are working with three possible hypotheses: human error, mechanical fault and shifting of underlying soil.

More than 1,300 workers resumed construction of the venue in Sao Paulo's east on Monday.

Builder Odebrecht said a section where the facade partially collapsed remained closed off to workers as investigations continue into the cause of the accident.

According to local media, world football's governing body FIFA is likely to extend the stadium's year-end construction deadline due to the extenuating circumstances.

The 70,000-seat Itaquerao is earmarked to host six World Cup matches, including the tournament opener on June 12.