There was major commotion in the equestrian press office in Deodoro on day one of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as a military bullet (pictured) pierced the white plastic of the large tent and clattered to the floor. Nobody was harmed.
The bullet, identified locally as a 5.56mm assault rifle round, landed on one side of the room, near the end set up to accommodate athlete press conferences.
It landed at lunch time, a particularly busy time in the press office as journalists from all nations were busy writing up their stories from the morning’s eventing dressage.
All three of H&H’s team in Rio were in the room at the time. The bullet landed nearest to British photographer Jon Stroud — who is here working for the British Equestrian Federation (BEF). He ran to the far end of the room to seek help.
Team GBR’s Pippa Wade was sitting near Jon when the bullet landed. The British Equestrian Federation’s Performance Director Dan Hughes was also in the press room, talking to commentators Ian Stark and Mike Tucker.
The bullet, which was bronze in colour, landed on the carpet and did not pierce it. The photo manager at the venue quickly retrieved the bullet, but not before photographer Pierre Costabadie could photograph it.
The venue is adjacent to a military base, with some speculating that the bullet could have been “negligent discharge” — when a recruit accidentally fires a weapon in the wrong direction.
Some journalists were surprised that no subsequent action was taken to tighten security following the incident.
A small hole could be seen in the roof of the tent where the bullet came through (pictured), with the sunshine casting a spot on the wall through the newly-made hole.