Falling Ukraine Hotel Facade Crushes Pedestrian To Death

KIEV, Ukraine -- Masonry falling from the wall of a Ukrainian hotel needed for the Euro 2012 football championship crushed a pedestrian to death on Thursday, eyewitnesses said.

Kazatsky Hotel

A portion of the brick exterior of the centrally-located Kazatsky (Cossack) Hotel in the capital of Kiev killed a man walking on a sidewalk nine stories below.

The accident took place in one of the most heavily-walked regions of Kiev, adjacent to the city's Maidan Nezalezhnosti Square (Independence Square), a proposed site for a fan zone for Euro 2012.

Ukraine, which co-hosts Euro 2012 with Poland, is still some 25 per cent short of hotel rooms needed to handle a predicted one million visitors expected during the tournament, according to media reports.

Euro 2012 accommodation has long been a headache for Ukrainian tournament planners, who have been tasked with upgrading a Soviet- designed hospitality industry to international standards.

Ukrainian buildings completed during the late Soviet era have a particularly poor reputation for quality because of shoddy construction standards and rampant theft of construction materials.

Old balconies or wall sections fall into the street regularly in Ukrainian cities, although deaths are extremely rare.

The worst incident took place in 1989 when a section of the national post office building in Kiev, only a few hundred metres from the Kozatsky hotel, collapsed, killing 11 people.

Source: DPA