The top of a towering float collapsed on the final night of Rio’s elite samba troop parade early Tuesday, injuring 12 people in the second crash that marred Brazil’s brilliant carnival spectacle.
Firefighters rushed to rescue costumed dancers caught in the tangled top section of Unidos da Tijuca samba school, which lost precious time and points in the 75-minute parade ground competition of a half -mile known as Sambadrome.
Health officials said five of the 12 injured were taken to hospital and one was seriously injured.
They said three people were still in hospital, including a woman with broken legs, in serious condition and on a ventilator. She was injured the night before when a 3-ton float got out of control and crushed people against a barrier.
Crashes haven’t stopped the nightly parades of the city’s top samba schools who spend millions each year competing for the most lavish and exotic floats and top dancers driven by mighty drum sections.
Despite a two-year recession and record unemployment in Brazil, samba schools in Rio’s poorest neighborhoods reportedly spent an average of $ 1.5 million on their performances and each made it to the Sambadrome with 3,000-4,000 dancers, percussionists and star guests dressed in extravagant costumes.
The winner of the competition will be announced on Ash Wednesday, the day after the annual four-day pre-loaned bacchanalia dubbed the world’s biggest holiday.
For Unidos da Tijuca, a year of preparations ended in tears just 10 minutes from the parade when the top of the float collapsed, knocking down some of their dancers.
The accident delayed samba school for over half an hour and his performance exceeded the 75 minutes allowed per parade, virtually putting Unidos out of the race for Samba Champion of the Year.