Armed man holding 37 people on bus hostage in Rio de Janeiro

Gunman holds passengers hostage on a bus in Rio

Brazil police 'neutralize' armed man holding dozens hostage on bus in Rio de Janeiro

A GUNMAN who held dozens of people hostage on a bus was killed by a police sniper following a four-hour stand-off in Rio de Janeiro.

Police escort the bus that an armed man had seized taking dozens of hostages, on the bridge connecting the city of Niteroi to Rio de Janeiro.

After holding the passengers hostage for hours, a hijacker has been shot dead by police.

Six people have walked out of the salon.

The man boarded the Rio-bound bus at around 5:40 am (0840 GMT) and began threatening passengers.

Several lanes of traffic on the busy Rio-Niteroi bridge spanning Guanabara Bay were blocked during the hostage situation.

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As the hijacking ended, Rio's governor, Wilson Witzel, arrived by helicopter and bounded across the bridge to hug police involved in the operation.

Of those, six were freed during the terrifying, almost four-hour ordeal.

Police did not provide more details on the hostage-taker.

Footage showed one of the released hostages fainting as she got off the bus.

"If the police could do their job and shoot people with rifles, so many victims would be spared", Witzel said on TV Globo.

The gunman - a young man wearing a white T-shirt and dark-colored pants - poked his head out of the bus at one point, showing his face, G1 reported.

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"This is the police force we want to see", police Col. Mauro Fliess told local TV program Nom Dia Rio.

Hans Moreno, one of the hostages onboard, said on TV Globo the man was "very calm" and was not acting in an aggressive way.

"He (hijacker) died at the scene".

Brazilian media said it was not clear if he had made any demands.

This is not the first time a public bus in Rio has been hijacked. Witzel said there was a "strong smell of gasoline" when he went inside the bus after the hostage-taker was killed.

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