By Ben Tavener, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A report by experts investigating the Rio bonde (streetcar) accident, which killed six people and injured 56 others, has found 23 faults that could have contributed to the crash, which happened in Santa Teresa, downtown Rio, on August 27th.

Report on Santa Teresa Bonde accident shows mechanical causes rather than operator error
Report on Santa Teresa Bonde accident shows mechanical rather than operator error, image recreation.

The 34-page report by the ICCE (The Carlos Ebilo Institute of Criminology) says that safety mechanisms on the streetcar were poorly maintained and led to the streetcar’s brake system failing – according to Globo News’ Jornal Nacional program which has seen the report.

Experts drew their conclusions after scrutinizing everything from the scene of the accident to individual parts from the streetcar wreckage, to the maintenance depot.

Their findings showed 23 faults – ranging from welding issues on the chassis, problems with the compressed air system used for braking, botched handmade parts, and even parts that had been wired instead of screwed down.

Crucially, the report is said to confirm that the driver attempted to stop the vehicle with the emergency brake, which then failed.

This seems to all but rule out human error on the operator’s part, but does leave a sizable question mark hanging over the entire bonde system. At the time of the accident the streetcar was carrying 50 percent more passengers that it should have been.

The full report and more information on the crash can be read here (in Portuguese).

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