Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Security boosted after bus windows shattered

Published:Thursday | August 11, 2016 | 8:00 AM
A member of the media stands near a shattered window on a bus in the Deodoro area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the 2016 Summer Olympics on Tuesday night.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP):

Military police in Rio de Janeiro are stepping up security after projectiles struck a bus carrying journalists to the main Olympic Park, the organising committee for the Games said.

While authorities said it was not immediately clear what struck the bus, a retired US Air Force captain who now writes about women's basketball said she was certain it was gunfire.

Britain's Press Association yesterday quoted Lee Michaelson, who was on the bus Tuesday, as saying that she instinctively hit the floor when she heard the sound of gunfire and "hollered to the others ... 'Get down! Get down! We are taking fire'."

"I know what a gun sounds like," she said. "It was the sound before I ever saw the glass (shatter) or anything."

MISTAKES MADE

The Rio organising committee said the driver heard a noise from inside the bus, which he thought was photography equipment falling down.

When he checked his rear-view mirror, he found the journalists were lying on the ground. He saw a police car and stopped.

"At this time, he realised that two windows on the same side of the bus were broken," the committee said in a statement. "He resumed the route under the escort of the police car and the broken windows began to give way further."

Michaelson says both the bus driver and Olympic officials made mistakes. The driver slowed down and pulled over, which she says is "precisely the opposite of what he should have done, which was to put the gas on and floor it".

When they returned to the Olympic park, she says there was no medical help waiting, despite some passengers being injured and bleeding.

A dozen journalists on the bus suffered minor injuries.

"There was kind of a popping noise and something hit two windows on the side of the bus and left two hole marks, which looked like bullet holes," David Davies, a photographer for the British-based news agency Press Association, told the AP.

The bus was travelling from the northern venue cluster of Deodoro to the main Olympic Park in the suburb of Barra da Tijuca.

The incident raises more concerns about security at the Games.

Rio is deploying about 85,000 soldiers and police to secure the Games, twice as many as London did four years ago.

On Saturday, a stray bullet flew through the roof of a media tent at the Olympic Equestrian Centre. Officials said it had been fired from a hillside favela, but said the Games had not been targeted. Organisers said the intended target was probably a security camera on a blimp.