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Baby Killed and 17 People Injured As Car Hits Crowd at Copacabana Beach in Rio
01/19/2018 - 14h30
FROM SÃO PAULO
A car driver drove onto the boardwalk along Copacabana beach, in Southern Rio de Janeiro, on Thursday night (the 18th), killing a baby and injuring 17 people.
The incident took place at around 8:40pm on the intersection of Atlântica Avenue and Figueiredo Magalhães Street, in between beach posts two and three, along the beachfront.
The driver lost control over his vehicle, invaded the bike lane, drove over the boardwalk and wound up in the sand.
Given the intense summer heat in Rio and the fact that the country is nearing up on Carnival, Copacabana beach was crowded, despite the time of night.
A video that was posted on social media captured the aftermath of the incident. Before the firefighters arrived, pedestrians could be seen rescuing three people, among them a boy.
In a second video, at least five people could be seen lying on the ground, receiving medical attention as people tried cooling them off.
In a third video, municipal officers could be seen isolating the premises so that the driver could be removed from the scene. He was detained without demonstrating any signs of resistance, while passersby screamed "murderer" at him.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Murilo Angelotti, who is the commander of the 19th Battalion (in Copacabana), the man was removed from the scene in order to avoid a public lynching.
According to the Detran (State Transit Department), the driver's license was suspended back in May of 2014.
Antonio de Almeida Anaquim, 41, claimed in a testimony to the police that he had suffered from an epileptic seizure moments before driving onto the boardwalk on Atlântica Avenue. Preliminary examinations indicate that the driver was not drunk.
The Rio de Janeiro Transit Department's website also revealed that Mr. Anaquim had been penalized with 62 points and had been fined 14 times over the past five years.
Mr. Anaquim will be charged with manslaughter - when there is no prior intent to kill. He will not be detained prior to the trial.
Among the 17 injured is a 68-year-old Australian man. The tourist was hospitalized at the Miguel Couto Hospital in Leblon, in southern Rio. He is in critical condition.
According to the doctor's report, the Australian is relying on an assisted breathing device. His name was not released to the press.
The mother of the dead eight-month-old baby, Niedja da Silva Araújo, was also hospitalized in critical condition, according to a report issued by the Municipal Health Department.
Up until early Friday morning (the 19th), ten of the victims were still hospitalized in two public hospitals in Rio.
Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON
|Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press|
|Firefighters give the first aid to people that were hurt after a car drove into the crowded seaside boardwalk along Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro|