UK & World News

  • 22 January 2014, 4:17

Christ The Redeemer Lightning Repairs Start

Repair work is under way on Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue after lightning strikes damaged it.

The iconic figure is believed to have had its right thumb chipped when a powerful electric storm swept through the area last week.

Its head and right middle finger are also believed to have been damaged by a similar storm last month.

The engineer in charge of repairing the figure, Clesio Dutra, said they are planning to add to existing lightning rods on the structure to prevent future damage.

"So, we are going to augment the lightning rods, the crown of the head is a lightning rod, but it isn't reaching all the way to the middle finger where the clouds generally come when coming from the east and the sea.

"So we're going to extend the lightning rods until the middle finger. The work is already approved and the structure is very sturdy."

It was not until after the storm last Thursday that the statue's caretakers realised the figure's head also sustained damage near the Christ figure's hairline.

Mr Dutra added: "I would say the most difficult thing is the safety. I think it's safety above everything.

"So, this is what will happen, we take a little more time and we'll work outside the hours of visitation, in the morning or at night, the hours of summer help. We're not going to take any risks."

The monument is 125ft (38 metres) high and looks down from the top of Corcovado mountain.

Rio priest, Father Omar, performed a blessing on Tuesday saying he hoped to ensure the repairs went well and ward off any potential future storms that would be powerful enough to damage the statue.

"We have this continuing worry about the storm, but we will guarantee a good repair job, the flow of tourists, and at the same time increasing the atmospheric protection," Father Omar said.

According to officials the statue is struck an average of six times per year.

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.

Advertisement