Page last updated at 22:52 GMT, Saturday, 17 October 2009 23:52 UK

Rio police die as helicopter hit


Police killed in Rio helicopter crash

Two Brazilian policemen have been killed after their helicopter was shot at in Rio de Janeiro during clashes involving police and drug gangs.

The helicopter came down and burst into flames, after the pilot was hit in the leg by a bullet.

At least 10 other people were reported to have died in the fighting. Several buses were also set on fire.

It was the worst outbreak of violence since the city was awarded the 2016 Olympic Games two weeks ago.

The attack on the helicopter followed an outbreak of fighting between rival drug gangs in a shanty town in the north of the city.

One resident said it was the one of the most intense gun battles he had witnessed in the area in recent years.

The remains of a police helicopter that was downed in Rio de Janeiro, 17 October 2009
The helicopter exploded after making a crash landing

The police helicopter exploded after trying to make an emergency landing on a football field.

Two policemen were injured in the crash.

A new gun battle then began between the gangs and dozens of policemen.

In total, 10 alleged gangsters were reported to have been killed.

Authorities were not able to confirm if it was the first time that one of their helicopters had been brought down by gunfire.

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