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Deadly time as Carnival gets under way in Bolivia

Dancers participate in Bolivia's Oruro Carnival
AIZAR RALDES (AFP/File)

Tragedies cast a shadow over Bolivia's carnival celebrations this weekend, with a staggering 21 people killed and 72 injured, authorities said Sunday.

In the city of Oruro, famous for its carnival celebrations, a heating gas tank exploded and killed eight people and wounded another 47.

Many of the others killed were in traffic and bus accidents, police and local officials said.

In Oruro, about 25,000 dancers take part in the pre-Lenten blowout that is Bolivia's biggest tourist attraction and brings as many as half a million people to the sleepy town.

The pageant along the city's cobblestones is a mixture of Spanish colonial traditions with those of the ancient indigenous Inca and Aymara peoples in a ritual seeking better farming and good health.

In 2001, the UNESCO cultural organization declared the carnival an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

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