By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Unfortunately the 2017 Carnival parade competition of the Grupo Especial (Special Group) samba schools held in Rio’s famous Sambódromo, saw four accidents this year, one on the first night and three on the second night, sending many to the hospital.
On the first night, Sunday, February 26th, Paraíso do Tuiuti – who were just moved up from the Série A (Access Group) this year – had one of its allegorical floats crash into Sector 1. Twenty people were injured in total, including four people who had to be hospitalized.
On the second night, Monday, February 27th, the parades in the Marquês de Sapucaí were also marked by accidents and problems with floats. In the performance by Unidos da Tijuca, a crash lead to twenty people being treated at the Sambódromo health center and in the city’s public hospitals. Of these, twelve were seriously injured and eight received medical attention at the scene.
Two other schools had problems with during the parades, União da Ilha had difficulty in maneuvering its penultimate allegory float at the entrance of the Sambódromo, which forced the school to hold the parade up.
Mocidade Independente also encountered serious problems steering one of their larger floats, and on a different float one member fell when the pedestal she was dancing on collapsed.
The president of the League of Samba Schools of the Special Group (LIESA), Jorge Castanheira, said that there will be a reassessment of the issues from the problems identified in the parades.
“When I got there, the firemen were already working and I understood that the situation was under control, and the school went on with its parade,” said Castanheira, who considered the year atypical. “Let’s look at each case.”
The president of Unidos da Tijuca, Fernando Horta, promised that the school will assist the victims of the accident, if necessary. “It was not overweight, because people rehearse inside the car,” said Horta, noting that he does not believe the problem was structural.
The results of this year’s Carnival competition will be announced by the Independent League of Samba Schools (LIESA) on Ash Wednesday, March 1st. The highest-performing schools will have the chance to perform again in the Sambódromo this Saturday in the Champion’s Parade.