Negligence cited in overhead-camera crash at Rio Olympics

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) The official Olympic broadcaster is contesting a Brazilian police investigation that says it was negligent when an overhead camera crashed to the ground three months ago and injured eight during the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The camera, suspended by cables, was being used by the Olympic Broadcasting Service to provide aerial shots of the main Olympic Park.

A Brazilian police report said five people were charged with ''bodily injury'' and ''had the responsibility to prevent the result'' that occurred.

It was not clear what punishment, if any, might be forthcoming.

OBS, in a statement, contested the findings and said the cables were cut by a ''third party,'' but did not say if it believed the act was intentional.

Three of those charged were employed by a contractor hired by OBS, one by OBS, and one was working with the local Olympic organizing committee.

''Considering the height at which it was installed, as well as the weight and size, the fall could have killed one of the victims, which fortunately did not happen,'' the police report said.

The report said the camera was originally suspended by three cables. It said one snapped, leaving the camera suspended by two cables for 45-60 minutes.

OBS said the Aug. 15 incident ''was actually the result of the cutting - of its sustaining cables - by a third party. All cables were cut at the same section over the Jacarepagua Lagoon, in an area allegedly secured, exactly adjacent to the Olympic Park.''

OBS said its system ''was properly designed and installed.''

The Olympic broadcaster said it followed safety procedures set up by the local organizers, and called on Brazilian police to investigate further.

OBS said the cables could have been cut by a highly abrasive line coated with powered glass, which is used in Brazil to fly so-called fighter kites often deployed by rival gangs.

OBS said the presence of a kite on the day of the incident was confirmed by a security guard.

''The company would expect after examining the forensic reports, that investigations should be focused in finding and bringing to justice those responsible for this act and identifying those responsible for such a severe security breach in an area immediately adjacent to the Olympic Park.''

The Olympic broadcaster has been at odds with Brazilian officials for months.

A Brazilian court impounded OBS equipment for a month after the Paralympic Games ended on Sept. 18, which it said was to ensure any ''compensation for possible damages to workers hired by OBS.''

The Olympic broadcaster denied any illegality or irregularity during the Olympics or Paralympics.

Created by the International Olympic Committee, OBS is a company that produces and transmits live radio and television coverage from every venue during the Olympics.


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