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20 people injured in Rio carnival float crash

Three were seriously injured, including a woman news photographer who had a leg badly crushed.

A performer from the Paraiso do Tuiuti samba school greets spectators during Carnival celebrations.
A performer from the Paraiso do Tuiuti samba school greets spectators during Carnival celebrations.
Image: Silvia Izquierdo AP/Press Association Images

A HUGE FLOAT carried by an out-of-control truck struck at least 20 people celebrating carnival in Rio de Janeiro, causing serious injuries at the start of an all-night dance-off Sunday.

The truck was at the tail end of the Paraiso do Tuiuti samba school parade in the city’s Sambadrome when the accident occurred during heavy drizzle.

It drove too close to a fence at the entrance to the competition piste, leaving several people unable to escape. Three were seriously injured, including a woman news photographer who had a leg badly crushed.

The truck was topped with one of the extravagant floats that symbolize the world’s most famous carnival.

Of the 20 people injured in the accident “eight were sent to hospital in ambulances,” including three severely injured women, the Health Secretary of Rio de Janeiro’s office said.

But despite the casualties and pools of blood on the rain spattered ground, the party soon got back in swing.

Brazilians living through two years of steep recession and nearly 13 percent unemployment have grasped this year’s carnival as a chance to let off steam. In Rio especially, the thrill of hosting the Olympics six months ago has given way to the grim reality of rising crime and near bankruptcy of the state government.

There were intense cheers around the packed stadium of 70,000 people the moment that drumming began to thunder up from the piste.

Samba queens dressed in sequined micro-costumes and vast feathered headdresses danced at dizzying speed. Behind them came armies of drummers and costumed dancers, interspersed by the floats.

© AFP, 2017

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