updated 2/28/2011 5:42:43 AM ET 2011-02-28T10:42:43

At least 17 people were electrocuted in a freak accident during a large pre-Carnival parade, Brazilian police said Monday.

Fireworks lit by partygoers caused a power line to fall on a tightly packed crowd dancing behind a large sound truck.

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The accident happened late Sunday in the small town of Bandeiro do Sul in Minas Gerais state north of Rio.

Such street parties are common across Brazil and involve a crush of people following behind a sound truck as it belts out music.

A police spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn't authorized to discuss the matter, said most of those killed on the street were hit directly by the downed power line.

Dozens of others were hurt.

Carnival officially begins on Friday.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Rio fire destroys Carnival floats, costumes


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