SAO PAULO, Brazil (JTA) — A 14-year-old Brazilian boy died on Friday after a soccer goalpost fell on him at Sao Paulo’s Hebraica club, the main meeting place for the local 60,000-strong Jewish community.
Alexandre Andrei Mirocznik was playing with four friends at one of the several courts and fields at the Hebraica, a sports facility that combines the functions of a Jewish community center and a country club. As he hung from a goalpost and swung back and forth, the heavy metal beam fell on him.
“This is perhaps the most difficult moment experienced by our institution and one of the most difficult of my life,” wrote Fernando Rosenthal, Hebraica’s president, in an internal message to the club’s staff.
Footage from surveillance cameras shows that Mirocznik’s friends immediately removed the goalpost and security and firefighters arrived shortly after, followed by medical staff. The boy was transferred to a nearby hospital, but he died shortly after.
“There is nothing to identify that the accident could have been caused by a maintenance problem, as some irresponsible people have written on social media,” Rosenthal added.
The club suspended all festive activities and raised a flag at half-staff.
Founded in 1953, Sao Paulo’s Hebraica is sometimes referred to as the world’s largest Jewish club, with over 22,000 members. Its activities include sports competitions, theater, youth movements, religious services, and music and dance festivals. It also operates a day school.