By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Seven people have been killed and nine others injured after a bus fell ten meters (nearly 33 feet) from the Brigadeiro Trompowski overpass onto Avenida Brasil below in the center of Rio on Tuesday. The roadway links one of the city’s main arterial routes to the Ilha do Governador, site of Rio’s Galeão International Airport.
Firefighters from six divisions quickly arrived on the scene to attempt to extract survivors from the crumpled wreckage of the bus. The most seriously injured were airlifted to a nearby hospital.
One of the main line of inquiries at present is focusing on reports that the bus, the 328 service, was speeding and that an argument was taking place on board between the driver, who survived the accident, and a young male passenger.
Officials are waiting for other survivors to stabilize before they take witness statements, but two have already been questioned, according to Globo News, which reportedly said the young passenger was complaining that the bus had missed his stop due to the speed at which it was traveling.
Local media are reporting that the bus had been operated on an expired Detran license and that the vehicle had amassed a string of traffic violations – 46 fines since 2008, fourteen of which relating to speeding offenses. Commentators say the incident has pulled into sharp focus an unregulated public transport system, which has failed to flag up the multiple offenses committed by drivers on the route.
Alongside cars and taxis, buses are still the primary option for getting from the main international airport to downtown Rio, and this latest incident will do nothing to help the image of the city, which is currently in the global spotlight in the run-up to its hosting of the FIFA Confederations Cup this year, the World Cup next year, and the Olympics in 2016.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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