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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.

The 328 bus fell ten meters from a viaduct in central Rio, Brazil News
Work continued into the night in central Rio to clear the wreckage of the 328 bus, image recreation.

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).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Speeding busses is not a new thing in Rio. I used to take a bus from PUC Gavea to Ipanema at around 10pm (after a class), streets nearly empty and the drivers scared the Beejeebies out of me. and yes often missed the stops. And / or stopped at their convenience, dropping you off mid block or several blocks later. They speed right by police – on foot, in cars, on motorbikes and none pay attention. As usual an easy fix if an effort were made. How do busses get out of the bus barn with expired detran license – routine inspections an easy (patial)fix.

  2. Bus drivers are pretty out of control here. They seem to be incentivized to complete a route as quickly as possible. Little old ladies in the aisle routinely go flying as the driver floors the accelerator or slams on the brake. On two occasions I stepped off the curb on Nossa Senhora da Copacabana when the pedestrian light turned green, only to have to step back on because a bus a full block away (both times) was accelerating in order to run the light. And I’ve seen a bus with a deep crease on its front being pulled off a pole in front of a school in Gavea, because it couldn’t make the 45 degree turn onto a relatively minor street…with schoolkids on the sidewalk nearby, of course. But the root problem isn’t the drivers of course, it’s the lack of public outrage. A similar problem with a private intercity bus line in Britain was resolved after two horrific accidents within a few weeks, and the resulting outcry.

  3. Enforcement is not in the Brazilian vocabulary. As the GingerV mentioned, you can commit driving or other offenses in front of police and they do nothing. When drivers know that there are basically no repercussions for driving like a maniac it naturally becomes a free-for-all. On the most basic level, they should install many more speed cameras all over the city, speed bumps, more traffic lights, flashing warning lights and make actual traffic stops for violations (what a crazy idea!). Also, what about addressing all the illegal parking which blocks sidewalks, crosswalks, etc all over Rio? Does the prefeitura even understand how much revenue they can collect by doing this? Today Rio’s government/law enforcement don’t seem to care about the safety of citizens and visitors to this great city.

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