Freak Carnival accident kills 16 in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:08pm GMT

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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - At least 16 Brazilian Carnival revellers were killed and dozens more wounded when a power cable fell and electrocuted them as they danced behind a sound truck.

The high-voltage line fell during celebrations late on Sunday in the town of Bandeira do Sul in the southwestern state of Minas Gerais, the state's firefighting service said.

It said the accident may have been caused when a reveller threw a roll of tape containing metal onto the line, causing it to short-circuit and fall onto the sound truck.

Such trucks, known as "Trio Eletricos" (Electric Trios) and equipped with high-power sound systems, are commonly used to lead Carnival parties through the streets in Brazil.

The firefighters' statement did not give an estimate for the number of people wounded, but media reports said 50 people had been hurt.

"The cable fell on top of the truck, which then became a conductor of the electric energy and many people were electrocuted. Those who tried to get others out of the current also died," local police chief Ademir Luiz Correa was quoted as saying by the O Globo newspaper.

This year's Carnival celebrations, which officially get under way on Friday, had already been hit by tragedy. A large fire three weeks ago destroyed thousands of costumes and threw the preparations of some of Rio de Janeiro's top samba groups into chaos.

(Reporting by Stuart Grudgings; editing by Eric Beech)

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