DALLAS, Texas (AFP) – At least six workers who were trying to get Cowboys Stadium ready for the Super Bowl were taken to hospitals on Friday after being struck by falling ice, a National Football League spokesman said.
The six were taken to different hospitals and the two most seriously injured were in stable condition.
“Melting ice and snow on the Cowboys Stadium roof slid onto several plaza areas earlier today,” said Michael Signora, the NFL’s vice president of communications.
“The snow on the roof is in the process of being cleared away in preparation for Sunday’s Super Bowl.”
The Dallas-Fort Worth area was hammered with back-to-back winter storms this week which brought ice and bone-chilling winds then dumped six inches (15 centimeters) of snow early Friday morning.
The incident happened around 1:15 pm (19:15 GMT) at south end of the stadium and Signora said a concession tent outside the stadium also was damaged by falling snow and ice but no one was hurt in that incident.
“The area where the snow and ice fell has been cordoned off and people are not allowed to walk through that location,” an Arlington Fire Department spokesman said.
The 1.2 billion dollar stadium, located just outside of Dallas, is where the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers will meet in Super Bowl 45 on Sunday, when more than 100,000 people are expected to converge for the spectacle.
As temperatures warmed slightly and the sun came out, ice and snow started falling from the roof of the stadium, billed as the tallest domed stadium in the world.
“When the ice falls, it can drop about 75 feet away from the stadium. You can’t tell where it is going to hit,” Arlington Fire Department spokesman Pedro Arevalo told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
All stadium walk-in entrances were closed after the ice and snow fell and authorities set up a wide perimetre around the area. The only entrance that remained open was a truck tunnel.
Organizers are expecting a record Super Bowl crowd, breaking the current attendance mark for a Super Bowl of 103,667 when Washington beat Miami in 1983 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
The Super Bowl is not the first major sporting event at the stadium, but it is by far the largest since the venue was built in 2009.