Worker falls to his death at Qatar SWC site

Doha - A British worker fell to his death from a suspended platform at a Qatar 2022 Soccer World Cup stadium site, a building contractor said on Friday.

The 40-year-old Briton, as yet unnamed, suffered fatal injuries on Thursday while working on the Khalifa International Stadium, which will also be the venue for the 2019 World Athletics Championships.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, overseeing the organisation of Qatar 2022, announced his death hours after the incident took place but without giving a cause.

Further details were released in a statement on Friday issued by one of the stadium's main contractors, Belgian construction giant Besix.

It said the accident happened when the man was on a platform "designed to manage technical functions relating to sound and light installations".

"For unknown reasons one of the lever hoists supporting the platform failed, causing the fall of the worker, who was wearing all his safety equipment, including the safety harness," Besix said.

"Sadly, the harness was cut during the fall with a fatal outcome. What caused the cut is subject to further investigation."

Besix, the main contractor at the Khalifa stadium along with Qatari company Midmac, extended its "deepest condolences" to the victim's family.

A spokesperson for the Belgian firm later told AFP that the British man was actually working for a German sub-contractor group.

Qatari World Cup organisers said the man's family had been informed and an investigation launched.

"The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy shares our deepest condolences with the family for their loss," it said in a statement.

A British Foreign Office spokesperson said: "We are in contact with the local authorities following the death of a British national in Qatar and are ready to support their family at this very difficult time."

Renovation work on Khalifa is set to be completed later this year, making it the first stadium to be ready for the World Cup in five years' time.

The stadium is being increased in size from a current capacity of 40 000 to more than 68 000 and will be used up to the quarter-final stage in 2022.

The tragedy occurred at the same stadium where last year Amnesty International claimed some migrant workers had suffered abuse, including forced labour.

The death is the latest incident to hit the controversial World Cup.

Last October, a Nepalese labourer, Anil Kumar Pasman, died after being hit by a lorry while working at another Qatar World Cup stadium, Al-Wakrah.

Pasman's death was the first "work-related" fatality announced by World Cup organisers in Qatar, which is home to an estimated 20 000 Britons.

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