• Brazilian actor dies when police mistake drowning for soap opera scene

    By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    A popular Brazilian actor died while swimming in an area near where he had been recording scenes for a soap opera, authorities said Friday.

    Domingos Montagner, 54, was swimming in the São Francisco River in Brazil with actress co-star Camila Pitanga when a strong current pulled him away and carried him underwater.

    Pitanga tried to grab Montagner but was unable to reach him, the Associated Press reported. Pitanga later told police that she was able to swim to a rock.

    Pitanga screamed for help, but authorities didn't respond because they thought the noise was a part of filming for a show. She alerted search and rescue teams of the incident after authorities initially didn't take action.

    Montagner was found hours later nearly 60 feet below the surface and 1,000 feet from where he was last seen, according to Jose Aparecido Cardoso, director of the state Legal Medical Institute. He was lodged between two rocks, according to rescue crews.

    "They thought they had chosen a safe spot to swim, but that is one of the most dangerous areas in the town of Canindé and is usually avoided by locals," police chief Antonio Francisco Filho told O Globo.

    Pitanga and Montagner appear in "Velho Chico" ("Old Boy"), Brazil's best-known and most popular soap opera, according to Fox News Latino. The actors had recently finished filming scenes for the show in Canindé, in the state of Sergipe.

    On average, one person has drowned every year in Canindé since 2005, BBC reported.

    Montagner's funeral was held Saturday in his home town of Sao Paulo. He had been married to actress Luciana Lima for 14 years, and the couple had three children together. 

    Pitanga wrote on Instagram Sunday, saying, "I have received a sea of love, and this has been extremely important to strengthen me. Eternal gratitude to all of you who are in this chain of love."

     

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