Rio Olympics bus carrying journalists attacked, use of bullets suspected

AP / AFP  | Deccan Chronicle

World, Europe

Two journalists suffered slight injuries in the attack, authorities are yet to confirm if the bus was hit by stones or bullets.

The bus was carrying journalists returning from the Deodoro Olympic district. (Photo: AFP)

Rio De Janeiro: A bus carrying Rio Olympics journalists came under attack Tuesday and police were investigating whether bullets were fired from the notorious City of God favela.

Rio 2016 organisers said two journalists suffered slight injuries in the attack, which set off a new Olympic jitters four days after a bullet hit a Games media centre.

Journalists in the bus hurled themselves to the floor after two windows were blown out. The driver put his foot down and got the passengers to the Games' main press centre.

An official inspects the bus which was attacked. (Photo: AFP)

The incident came after a bullet hit a media centre and landed near a New Zealand team official on Saturday.

"We threw ourselves to the floor and two kilometres later the police came and escorted us to the main press centre with the broken windows,"  Gaston Sainz of the Argentinian daily La Nacion said.

"Two impacts on the right side of the bus shattered two windows. A reporter from Belarus suffered a cut hand. There is confusion as to whether it was bullets or stones," the reporter said.

The bus was carrying journalists returning from the Deodoro Olympic district to the main press centre at Barra da Tijuca.

"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 said.

According to the organisers' statement, "the driver heard a noise from inside the bus which he thought was photography equipment falling down.

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

"He continued to drive for a few metres 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."

The driver went on, escorted by the police car, "and the broken windows began to give way further".

On arriving at the media centre two passengers had minor injuries caused by broken glass cuts, the statement said.

The driver was to give a statement, while the bus was being examined by police.

Security forces had started "increased patrols", the statement said.

The International Olympic Committee said it would wait for a police report before commenting.

The incident raises more concerns about security at the Rio de Janeiro 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 Center. Officials said it had been fired from a hillside favela, but said the games had not been targeted.

Organizers said the intended target was probably a security camera on a blimp.