9 injured after Rio carnival float collapses

Rio de Janeiro - Nine people were injured in Brazil Tuesday during the fourth round of samba parades when the platform of a float collapsed under the weight of dancers.

The incident happened around 3:00 am during the Unidos da Tijuca parade in Rio de Janeiro's Sambodromo, a day after a truck carrying a float ran into bystanders late Sunday and injured 20.

Municipal health authorities said two of the nine were seriously hurt.

Confusion reigned in the aftermath of the collapse as ambulances arrived to evacuate the wounded, with police shooing away dozens of photographers.

Photo: Reuters

"I was on the platform of the float, on the left side, and all of a sudden I saw the right side collapse," weeping dancer Raissa Ribeiro told AFP.

The previous accident on the first night of the elite samba school championship occurred late Sunday when the colorful float at the tail end of the Paraiso do Tuiuti school swerved on the crowded runway, crushing people against a fence.

Eight of them, including journalists covering Rio's biggest party, were hospitalised and three remained in serious condition Monday.

Photo: Reuters

The samba parades and street parties known as "blocos," in which hundreds of thousands of people drink and dance, often in skimpy outfits, provide a huge boost to Rio's economy.

They attract more than a million tourists and almost US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) in revenues, according to officials.

Brazilians living through two years of steep recession and nearly 13 per cent unemployment have grasped this year's carnival as a chance to let off steam.