Latin America & Caribbean

Repairs begin on iconic Rio Christ the Redeemer statue

A worker inspects the Christ the Redeemer statue (21 January 2014)
Officials say they will place more lightning rods on the statue to try to prevent future damage

Repair work has begun on Brazil's Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro after lightning strikes damaged two fingers and the statue's head.

On Tuesday, workers examined the 38m (125ft) statue, which is prominently located on top of a mountain.

Officials later said it would take about four months to repair. The statue will remain open throughout the work.

The statue is visited by nearly two million tourists a year and underwent a $4m (£2.7m) restoration in 2010.

Lightning rods

The right thumb of the statue was damaged during a violent storm last week, and its right middle finger and part of its head were hit last month.

Workers are assessing the full extent of the damage

Officials say they will place more lightning rods on the statue to try to prevent future damage.

Thursday's storm had one of the highest numbers of lightning strikes recorded in Brazil since the country began monitoring storms in 1999.

The statue is struck by lightning on average between three and five times a year, the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) told O Globo.

The monument was inaugurated on 12 October 1931 on top of Rio's Mt Corcovado and is considered the largest Art Deco-style sculpture in the world.

The statue is frequently hit by lightning
It is located in a position commanding spectacular views of the city
Chips caused by lightning can clearly be seen on the hand of the statue
The monument is considered to be the largest Art Deco-style sculpture in the world

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