Brazil TV star Domingos Montagner drowns on set of soap opera

Source: BBC

Brazilian soap opera star Domingos Montagner will be buried in his native city of Sao Paulo on Saturday following his tragic death.

He drowned in a river where the crew had been recording scenes for the country’s most popular soap opera.

Montagner played the leading role in Velho Chico, a soap opera named after the Sao Francisco river where he died.

The 54-year-old had gone for a swim with an actress after a day of shooting in the north-eastern state of Sergipe.

She said he had been dragged away by the river’s strong currents.

The actress, Camila Pitanga, cried for help but local people failed to act initially as they believed the drowning was a scene in the soap opera.

Authorities said there was little that anyone could have done.

In the soap opera, Montagner played a farmer who often fought off local gunmen. In one of those clashes, he was shot multiple times and appeared to drown in the same Sao Francisco river, but reappeared weeks later.

‘Dangerous area’

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

One person, on average, has drowned every year in the town since 2005, reports say.

Post by TV presenter Angelica Huck on Instagram saying: I can't believe it - an incredible actor and human being. May God give light and peace to his family.Image copyrightINSTAGRAM/@ANGELICAKSY
Image captionTV presenter Angelica Huck wrote on Instagram: “I can’t believe it – an incredible actor and human being. May God give light and peace to his family”

Four hours after the incident, rescue teams found Montagner’s body trapped in rocks at a depth of 18 metres (59 feet) and some 300 metres (984ft) from where he was last seen, according to Globo’s G1 website.

Forensic experts in Sergipe state confirmed he had died by drowning.

His body will be taken by plane to Sao Paulo, where his funeral will be held on Saturday.

Scriptwriter Benedito Ruy Barbosa says he will write a tribute for Montagner in the final episodes of Velho Chico.

“I’d never had such a big shock in my life,” he said. “We can’t forget the soap opera, which goes on, but we must pay tribute to the great person Domingos was.”

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