World Cup 2014: Australians flee gunshots as Brazil loses

A group of Australians have been caught up in mass panic near an area for World Cup fans on Copacabana beach, after Brazil's crushing defeat to Germany.

Gunshots rang out in the area as Germany scored its fifth goal, sparking thousands of fans to run in terror down Brazil's most famous beach.

"As the goal was scored, gunshots and screams were heard coming from our left," Australian tourist Tyson Perkins said. He is travelling with eight friends.

"Hundreds of people were running at us with terror in their eyes," said Mr Perkins.

"The idea that someone might be running around with a gun, it's just not something you can ever prepare for.

"We didn't know what to do, your instinct is just to run."

Foreign journalists covering the World Cup were also caught up in the panic. 

The panic was caused by a mass robbery or "arrastao," a tactic used by favela gangs in Rio de Janeiro. A large well-armed gang descended on bars in the fan festival area of Copacabana beach.

Mr Perkins' group of friends felt the tension in the crowd rise as the goals kept coming. The carnival atmosphere disappeared and turned into dead silence, he said.

"I thought it was going to trigger riots. There was an atmosphere of being incensed amongst the crowd."

Chaos breaks out on Copacabana Beach after Germany scored its fifth goal against Brazil. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Chaos breaks out on Copacabana Beach after Germany scored its fifth goal against Brazil. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Now that Brazil was out of the World Cup, Mr Perkins said he felt it was not an ideal time to be in the country.

"It'll be even worse if Argentina wins. We'll definitely be more careful and probably avoid major nightspots."

The group was surprised that the mass robbery could take place given the enormous security presence.

As the fans ran, the Brazilian riot police swarmed the area but the gang escaped with bags and jewellery.

smh.com.au

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop