Brush fire forces athletes to evacuate Rio venues

A brush fire caused light ash to fall on the Olympic field hockey venue on Monday leading to the evacuation of athletes from the nearby BMX center.

The fire started on afternoon, when temperatures reached 97 degrees in Rio’s Deodoro neighborhood, home to both the field hockey pitches as well as X-Park, where the canoe slalom, BMX and mountain biking events are held.

The blaze was stoked by high winds, which may have also played a role in dislodging an overhead television camera in the Olympic Park, which crashed 65 feet to the ground, injuring seven people.

According to Canadian Cyclist, a controlled garbage burn spread after winds blew at speeds of 55 miles per hour.

The women’s field hockey quarterfinal between Britain and Spain started on time and was not affected as the wind quickly blew away any ash.

The US lost to Germany in the women’s field hockey quarterfinals 2-1, but the game finished about an hour before the smoke and ash intensified.

Athletes were evacuated from the X-Park, about one mile away from the field hockey venue, according to the CBC.

The governing body for cycling, UCI, issued a statement that acknowledged the fire “this afternoon in the vicinity of the Rio 2016 mountain bike course”.

“It is understood the fire is now under control,” the statement read.

“Assessment of any potential impact on the mountain bike course will be made tomorrow.”

The scorching temperatures later gave way to torrential rain in Rio that caused a delay at the track and field venue.

Witnesses said the high winds may have also caused a camera belonging to the International Olympic Committee’s official broadcasting unit, Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) to crash 65 feet to the ground.

At least seven people, including an 11-year-old girl, were injured.Shocking pictures show two of the female victims sitting on the ground close to the scene of the accident.

One woman, bleeding from her head as medics arrived, was taken away on a stretcher.The other walked from the scene wearing a neck brace. Five of those injured were hurt by the cable – with two hit by the 600kg camera.

According to reports, Olympic security officials had been alerted earlier in the day that a steel cable holding the equipment had broken and the area had been partially isolated.

But according to a Globo News Team, OBS representatives had dismissed the risk of the camera falling even after one of the cables had snapped.


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