RIO DE JANEIRO: A bus carrying Rio Olympics journalists came under attack Tuesday on the way back to Bara Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro.
The bus was hit twice after leaving Deodoro, north of Rio, and two of its windows were broken. According to Rio officials, two journalists suffered minor injuries in the attack.
“We don't know yet if the bus was shot, or it was a stone," said organising committee spokesman Mario Andrada.
The incident raises concerns about security at the Rio de Janeiro Games. Four days ago, on Saturday, a stray bullet flew through the roof of a temporary media workroom at Deodoro and landed near a New Zealand official. The same day, security forces conducted a controlled explosion near the finish line of the men's cycle road race. A suspected package was also blown up on Tuesday near the luxury beachfront Copacabana Palace hotel.
Journalists in the bus hurled themselves to the floor after two windows were blown out. The driver put his foot down and drove the passengers quickly to the Games’ main press centre.
Rio officials said in a statement that police and army patrols have been stepped up but gave little indications about the cause of the attack.
Rio is a city notorious for gun crime and gang violence. The bus was returning from the Deodoro Olympic zone to the main press centre and was passing near the City of God slum district when it was hit.
Around 12 people were in the bus when the incident occurred. A journalist from Belarus suffered small cuts on the hand. A volunteer got injured on his arm.
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 one side of the bus were broken." The driver went on, escorted by the police car, "and the broken windows began to give way further".
The International Olympic Committee said it would wait for a police report before commenting.