Video shows collapse of Russian stadium, leaving one dead

A planned dismantling of a stadium in St. Petersburg turned into a terrifying scene after the structure collapsed with workers still on it.

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By Sasha Urban

A construction worker died Friday during a planned dismantling of the Sports and Concert Complex in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Dramatic aerial footage surfaced on social media showing a harrowing scene of a construction worker trying to run to safety as the roof of the stadium begins to collapse around him.

In the video, it appears the worker was running towards the basket of a crane, where a second worker appears to have been during the time of the collapse.

Just before reaching the basket, the first construction worker and the stadium roof disappear into a cloud of smoke and rubble, while the crane basket remains dangling in the air.

Rescue workers later recovered the body of the 29-year-old man, who had been cutting cables on the roof of the stadium, a government official said in a statement to Russian media. Three other construction workers who were present at the time survived the collapse, the same official said.

The incident comes less than three years after Human Rights Watch foundextensive labor abuses in the construction of Russia’s World Cup stadiums, resulting in the death of more than 17 construction workers. The reported abuses included unsafe working conditions and a lack of legal documentation, in addition to other problems.

The 40-year-old stadium was set to be demolished and reconstructed in time for the 2023 World Hockey Championship, according to a January 15 statement from the government of St. Petersburg. A concession agreement was signed by SKA Arena LLC. earlier this month to transform the Soviet-era stadium into a 25-billion-ruble (about $350 million) sports complex and park.

During a press conference Friday, SKA Arena director Igor Zabiran told reporters that the collapse was part of the dismantling process. Zabiran said the workers were in the process of cutting 112 cables meant to connect two separate parts of the structure when the stadium collapsed.

There is an ongoing investigation and forensic experts were sent to the scene Friday, officials said.