| RIO DE JANEIRO – The ferryboat Gavea I, carrying 907 passengers across Guanabara Bay from Niteroi slammed into a pier near the passenger terminal in Rio de Janeiro early Monday afternoon. A spokesman for the company that runs the passenger line said that about 25 people were wounded in the accident.
A spokesman for the fire brigade said that the injured passengers were taken to the Souza Aguiar, Andarai and Miguel Couto hospitals. He said that most injuries were minor. Users of social networking sites, however, posted messages reporting that many people have been seriously injured and that the boat, a passenger only catamaran, slammed twice into the pier.
The company that operates the ferry line, Barcas, confirmed the passenger accounts of the accident adding that some chairs were also broken loose on impact.
Thais Cravo, 23, who was on the ferry during the collision, a voice on the public address system announced that “it’s going to hit!” The announcement frightened the passengers. “People started to run away and when the boat struck the pier everybody fell all over each other,” she told terra.com.br. She also said that she saw a woman who hit her head and passed out as well as a little girl with a broken arm. The passengers were loaded onto another boat and taken to another dock at the Rio ferry station about 40 minutes after the collision.
According to witnesses, when the evacuated passengers arrived at the dock, there were no ambulances or rescue workers to tend to the injured. A spokesman for the ferry operator had no comment on the cause of the accident or the number of injured.
In Rio de Janeiro in August, a street car lost its breaking system and slid backwards down a steep street until it disintegrated when it hit a stone retaining wall. Scores of passengers were injured and 6 died in the accident. Officials said poor maintenance and shabby repairs were responsible for the accident.
Brazilian online news source for this article: terra.com.br/G1 Rio