Six injured as Argentine football club bus overturns in Venezuela

Caracas (Venezuela), Feb 11 (IANS) Five football players and a physical trainer of Argentine Club Atletico Huracan were injured after the bus transporting the team to the Maiquetia ‘Simon Bolivar’ International Airport in the central-northern state of Vargas, overturned.

There were problems with the vehicle brakes, presumably due to a mechanical fault, hence the driver decided to use the emergency braking ramp, causing the bus to overturn. The driver was able to avoid the bus falling off a cliff, reports Xinhua.

“The brakes stopped working and the gearbox broke. We were able to brake a little on the ramp. We were moving backwards towards the cliff and (the driver) was able to hit the mountain. If he hadn’t done that then we would have gone over the cliff,” forward Ramon Abila said on Wednesday.

“After we hit the mountain, the bus overturned. We were scared when we saw diesel coming out of the bus as we thought it was going to explode. It was a nerve-racking moment,” said Abila, adding that the consequences could have been a lot worse.

Thirty four people belonging to the Argentinian football team were travelling in the bus. The worst affected were Patricio Toranzo and Diego Mendoza and trainer Pablo Santaella.

Toranzo injured his left foot and was transported to a local hospital where four of his toes were later partially amputated. Forward Mendoza underwent surgery to remove broken glass that stuck in his right ankle.

Santaella is currently in a private clinic recovering from surgery to stop the internal bleeding caused when he fractured his pelvis in the accident. The rest of the injured players were admitted to other local medical centres for medical checks to be carried out.

“Thanks to God we are all fine, a bit shaken up, but fine. We didn’t realise what happened and we are worried about the guys that were hurt more,” Abila said.

Club Atletico Huracan won a pass to the group stage of Copa Libertadores despite losing 1-2 on Tuesday against Caracas Football Club in the Olympic Stadium here.

The team was on its way to the airport to return to Argentina when the accident occurred. The team will stay in a hotel close to the airport until the group is ready to return home.

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