Police helicopter goes down in Brazil, 4 dead

November 20, 2016 5:00 pm

Police gather near the site of a helicopter crash in Rio de Janeiro, on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. (Photo by AP)

A military police helicopter has crashed in a Rio de Janeiro slum, killing the four officers on board. The incident happened following a standoff between police and criminals in the violence-ridden favela on Saturday.
According to a military police spokesperson, the aircraft went down near the notorious slum known as ‘City of God.’ The official explained that the helicopter had been helping with an anti-drug operation in the area.
There had been severe clashes among the law enforcement and armed gangs in the area earlier in the day.
Police are investigating the cause of the incident.
Armed struggles take place in Rio slums between rival gangs as well as between gangs and police on an almost daily basis.
Numerous gangs, controlling large territories and trafficking drugs, are heavily armed and often shoot at helicopters and drones.
In 2009, drug traffickers shot down a military helicopter in Morro dos Macacos in northern Rio near the famed Maracana stadium. This incident left the two people on board dead.
Crime and violence have aggravated across Rio, just months after Brazil’s second-biggest city hosted the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The formation and activities of criminal groups in these areas have been put down to rising unemployment and overstretched public finances.
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