Journalists’ bus hit by gunfire

The projectiles that struck a bus carrying journalists to the main Olympic Park at the ongoing Rio 2016 were stones, not bullets, according to the security chief for the Games.

Witnesses who were on the bus said they had heard the sound of gunfire just as the windows broke, slightly injuring two people.

Twelve people were on board as the vehicle returned from Deodoro Olympic Park on Tuesday evening, going through the Rio suburb of Barra da Tijuca.

“I know what a gun sounds like,” said Lee Michaelson, a retired U.S. Air Force captain who now writes about women’s basketball.

She told Britain’s Press Association she was certain it was gunfire. “It was the sound, before I ever saw the glass [shatter] or anything.”

Michaelson said she instinctively hit the floor and “hollered to the others … ‘Get down! Get down! We are taking fire.”‘

“There was kind of a popping noise and something hit two windows on the side of the bus and left two hole marks, which looked like bullet holes,” David Davies, a photographer for the Press Association, told the Associated Press.

Games security chief Luiz Fernando Correa said Wednesday the bus was attacked with stones.

Organisers earlier said they stepped up security after the incident.

The Rio organising committee said the driver heard a noise from inside the bus, which he thought was photography equipment falling down.

When he checked his rear-view mirror, he found the journalists were lying on the ground.

He saw a police car and stopped.

“At this time, he realised that two windows on the same side of the bus were broken,” the committee said in an earlier statement. “He resumed the route under the escort of the police car and the broken windows began to give way further.”

Michaelson said both the bus driver and Olympic officials made mistakes. The driver slowed down and pulled over, which she said is “precisely the opposite of what he should have done, which was to put the gas on and floor it.”

When they returned to Olympic Park, she said, there was no medical help waiting, despite some passengers being injured and bleeding.