In the Ferraz de Vasconcelos area of Sao Paulo, Brazil, a woman found a man buried alive just as he attempted to free himself. According to local reports in Brazil, his identity was not confirmed before rushing him to a hospital. However, police believe he is a city hall official.
The woman who found him was visiting a deceased family member in the cemetery. She was startled by noises coming from a nearby grave. The noises continued; and, to her surprise, the man’s arms began protruding through the ground as she witnessed him trying to free himself.
At first, she contacted police but was not taken seriously because they presumed it was a practical joke that a man was buried alive. Then she attempted to contact the cemetery staff, who came to help the buried man. The Brazilian Record TV station captured the final moments on video when paramedics and emergency responders helped the man break free.
The woman told reporters she was “terrified to see a man,” who she thought was dead, “trying to get out of the grave.”
Authorities are still not sure who buried him alive. One assumption circulating is that he was involved in a fight in a different district, was badly beaten and then taken to the cemetery where he was buried alive.
Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and the seventh largest in the world by population. While the Sao Paulo metropolitan area has the largest economy by GDP in Brazil and Latin America, the Ferraz de Vasconcelos district is one of the poorest of the 96 districts.
The U.S. Department of State rates the criminal threat in Sao Paulo as “critical.” In the past few months, increased crime reporting in Sao Paulo has placed it as the highest-ranking city for criminal activity in Brazil. In fact, every area of crime increased from 2012 to 2013, including homicides, felony deaths, robberies, vehicular theft, bank burglaries, armed assaults and rape. Robberies are committed the most often. Specific “danger” areas cannot be identified in the city; however, most occur at bars and restaurants.
Safety in Rio de Janeiro has improved over the years and the homicide rate has dropped 50 percent. The U.S. State Department still classifies Rio as “critical” for such crimes as pick pocketing and credit fraud.
The crime rate in Brazil is continuously scrutinized because it is number seven for homicides in the world; and, according to the Brazilian Center for Latin American Studies, only a small percentage of reported crimes are solved. Concerns have intensified this year because the World Cup 2014 will be held in Brazil. FIFA, the football governing body, said they are confident Brazil will have sufficient security for the games. This summer Pope Francis visited Brazil. There was a large turnout and security managed the people efficiently. However, the World Cup crowd is a larger scale event.
The Sao Paulo State Health Service said the man who was buried alive has minor injuries and will see a psychiatrist before his release.
By Cayce Manesiotis