RIO DE JANEIRO – Three of the 20 people injured early Monday morning in an accident involving a colorful float at the Rio de Janeiro Sambodrome remain hospitalized, one of them in serious condition, after undergoing surgery, authorities said.
The three women who remain hospitalized were identified as Maria de Lourdes de Moura, Lucia Melo and Elizabeth Jofre, who were admitted to Souza Aguiar Hospital after being run over by a float prepared by the Paraiso de Tuiuti samba school, which led the parade of samba schools at the Rio Carnival celebration, according to a statement issued by the regional Health Secretariat.
De Moura, 58, is the patient in “serious” condition, having been put on a ventilator to help her breathe and with both legs broken, for which she underwent surgery.
Jofre is in “stable” condition in the hospital’s observation area while she recovers from surgery she had to repair a broken femur.
According to the Health Secretariat’s statement, Melo – who suffered a broken tibia along with head and shoulder injuries – is “lucid and conscious” and in “stable” condition at Miguel Couto Hospital, where she was transferred earlier on Monday.
The incident occurred early Monday morning when the driver of the float belonging to Paraiso de Tuiuti apparently lost control during a maneuver upon starting its run along the 700-meter Sambodrome concourse or circuit.
It was at that point that the float, weighing about three tons and occupied by about 40 costumed members of the samba school, crashed into one of the balconies bordering the concourse and, upon trying to reverse direction, ran over several people.
The accident forced authorities to halt the parade of samba schools for about an hour on the first day of Carnival at the Sambodrome, which was packed with more than 70,000 people, most of whom did not initially notice that anything out of the ordinary had occurred.
Medical services attended to 20 people, most of them suffering from anxiety, although eight were taken to nearby hospitals including the three women, who are the ones who suffered the most significant injuries, according to a statement released by the Rio Mayor’s Office.
Brazilian police launched an investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the crash of the float, which – according to images broadcast by TV Globo – appeared to be having steering problems and could not be kept traveling in a straight line before entering the concourse for its parade run.
However, police chief William Lourenço said that the preliminary investigation made of the float found no mechanical problems, although later on Monday morning officers returned to make a new inspection to try and determine whether a mechanical problem or human error led to the incident.