Tuesday 23 January 2018

Security measures ramped up in Rio following attack on media bus

Damage to a media bus in the Deodoro area of Rio de Janeiro on the fourth day of the Rio Olympic Games, Brazil. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
Damage to a media bus in the Deodoro area of Rio de Janeiro on the fourth day of the Rio Olympic Games, Brazil. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

Security at the Olympics has been intensified after a media bus was attacked on Tuesday evening, although officials insisted shots were not fired in the incident.

Two windows were smashed as the bus travelled between the Deodoro zone and the main transport mall in Rio's Olympic Park at around 1930 local time (2330BST), with about a dozen media on board.

Lee Michaelson, a reporter on women's basketball who is also a retired US Air Force captain, was on the bus and told the Press Association: "I know what a gun sounds like.

"There was a very distinctive sound of the report of a gun. It was the sound before I ever saw the glass or anything."

However, speaking at the IOC's daily press briefing on Wednesday, Rio 2016's security director Luiz Fernando Correa said: "The forensic analysis was done here at the MPC and the first findings confirm the bus was hit by a rock, which is worrying and intolerable. The final findings will be made available later today.

"We are talking about an urban area, densely populated. It would be impossible to have a perimeter to exclude a person in the range of throwing. We have no doubt the topography facilitated the attack. A younger person took the opportunity to throw a stone at a bus going through.

"We think this is an act of vandalism and not a criminal act with the intention of injuring one person so we need to increase the frequency of the mobile patrolling and police along the road. We are reinforcing the police presence."

There was evidence of increased patrols on Wednesday morning with a number of police patrols lined along the route from one of the media accommodation villages to the main transport mall on the Olympic Park.

Rio 2016 chief spokesman Mario Andrada said he could guarantee the safety of the media, although earlier in the week he had confirmed that a bullet flew through the side of the media work room at Deodoro on Saturday after being fired from one of the city's favelas at a security camera on a police blimp.

Press Association photographer David Davies was travelling on the bus at the time of the Tuesday night incident and 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."

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said of the incident: "We are taking it very seriously."

Press Association

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