Sunday 22 January 2017

'We don't know if it was shot at' - Media bus attacked at Rio Olympics

Published 10/08/2016 | 07:35

Journalist Joanna Moyse cries on an official media bus after a window shattered when driving accredited journalists to the Main Transport Mall from the Deodoro venue of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, August 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Journalist Joanna Moyse cries on an official media bus after a window shattered when driving accredited journalists to the Main Transport Mall from the Deodoro venue of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, August 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
People duck for cover in the aisle as a media bus is attacked travelling between venues in Rio de Janeiro, on the fourth day of the Rio Olympic Games, Brazil. David Davies/PA Wire.
A broken window on an official media bus after it shattered when driving accredited journalists to the Main Transport Mall from the Deodoro venue of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, August 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A person sits on an official media bus after a window shattered when driving accredited journalists to the Main Transport Mall from the Deodoro venue of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, August 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Journalist Joanna Moyse cries on an official media bus after a window shattered when driving accredited journalists to the Main Transport Mall from the Deodoro venue of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, August 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The International Olympic Committee says security forces are investigating an attack on a media bus travelling between venues at the Rio Olympic Games on Tuesday.

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Two windows were smashed in the bus, which was travelling between the Deodoro zone and the main transport mall in the Olympic Park, at around 1930 local time (2330 GMT), with about a dozen media on board.

The IOC said the damage had been caused by "objects coming from the surrounding area".

A Press Association photographer, travelling on the bus at the time of the incident, said: "We were travelling from the hockey venue to the Main Press Centre. I was sitting at the back. There was a popping, cracking noise.

"The bus didn't come to a stop but paused. Everyone was on the floor so I got on the floor as well.

"The bus driver stopped the bus about half a minute afterwards. People started shouting 'just keep going'. After a couple of minutes we had a police escort.

"A few minutes later the bus pulled over on the motorway and the driver spoke to the police. Then we all got back on the bus and came back to the main transport mall.

"There were minor injuries from glass shards but nobody was seriously hurt."

The IOC said in a statement: "We are aware that a media bus travelling from Deodoro to Barra on the Transcarioca had two windows broken by objects coming from the surrounding area.

"The security authorities are now investigating the incident and we await their report before making further comment."

The journey between the Olympic Hockey Centre in the Deodoro zone and the media transport mall in the Olympic Park, where the Main Press Centre is situated, takes approximately 20 minutes.

The photographer continued: "We were well away from the hockey venue. We were getting close to the Main Press Centre.

"There were pierced holes in the glass when it happened.

"The two windows did not shatter immediately but one of them shattered as we drove along the motorway.

"That is when the driver pulled over and talked to a policeman."

A statement from the Rio Olympic Games organising committee (ROCOG) read: "According to the driver's report, the media transport bus left the Youth Arena in Deodoro at around 1930 this evening, Tuesday August 9, travelling towards the Olympic Park.

"When on the expressway Transolimpica, near Curicica, the driver heard a noise from inside the bus which he thought was photography equipment falling down.

"Immediately, he looked in the rearview mirror and noticed that the passengers were lying on the ground.

"He continued to drive for a few meters until he saw a police car and stopped.

"At this time, he realised that two windows on the same side of the bus were broken.

"He resumed the route under the escort of the police car and the broken windows began to give way further.

"After arriving at the Media Center, he found that two passengers had minor injuries caused by broken glass cuts.

"The driver will provide a statement to police this evening accompanied by a security manager of the Organizing Committee of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

"Also tonight the bus will be subjected to an official inspection by the police. Preliminary results will be released as they become available.

"The Area Defense General Coordinator (CGDA) of the army and the military police informed that patrols are being increased in the area."

The incident on Tuesday is the latest of several to blight the Games.

On Saturday a bullet flew through the side of the media work room at Deodoro.

It was confirmed on Monday by Mario Andrada, the chief spokesman for Rio 2016's organising committee, that the bullet was fired at a security camera on a police blimp from one of the Brazilian city's favelas and the international equestrian media were not the intended target.

"According to the security forces the bullet came from a community far from here," said Andrada. "They were aiming at the blimp which carries cameras.

Addressing the bus attack, Andrada said: "We don't know yet if the bus was shot, or it was a stone."

He said three of the 12 journalists on the bus suffered minor injuries.

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