January 19th, 2011
11:43 AM ET

Rescue of man buried alive for 16 hours in Brazil mudslide captured on film

On a street cluttered with debris from a mudslide rescue workers heard a noise.

The flooding and mudslides that resulted from a month's worth of rain in one day have turned the once-picturesque tourist town of Teresopolis, Brazil, about two hours north of Rio de Janeiro, into a wasteland. Bodies and belongings remain strewn among fallen boulders as relatives search for loved ones.

In one mound of rubble, a faint voice could be heard. After so many stories of sadness and loss, that voice provided more than enough hope for rescuers to begin digging quickly.

As workers began what would be a three-hour process of pulling apart mud-covered rocks and debris, journalist Luciano Zimbrano, armed with a handheld camera, began filming, according to the British newspaper The Telegraph.

His dramatic video shows a crowd forming as workers remove layer by layer of debris, first revealing an arm. Then the back of a head appears.

Rescuers and Zimbrano soon learned that a man was trapped facedown 13 feet below the mud.

Slowly rescuers reached the man, and after putting a neck brace on him, they were able to pull him from the rubble, where he had been for 16 hours. He was put onto a stretcher as onlookers cheered.

It was only then, according to the Telegraph, that Zimbrano realized he knew the man he was filming - Marcelo Fonseca.

After the rescue, from his hospital bed, Fonseca told the Telegraph of the moment right before he became trapped.

"When I opened the window I only heard that loud thud and I only had time to run," he told the Telegraph. "When I ran and reached the front door it was such a powerful thing, that I only saw some pieces of the roof flying and some pieces of wood." He became completely trapped and had trouble breathing.

"My chest was being crushed by a stone and I was trapped; my two feet were trapped," he told the newspaper.

Rescuers say because he was face down, there may have been an air pocket under him, enabling him to breathe throughout the ordeal.

The 42-year-old man, according to the newspaper, is in the intensive-care unit but is expected to make a full recovery.

The story has captivated those who have seen the video - perhaps because of the dramatic nature of it - but also because of the grim toll of the flooding and mudslides in Brazil.

Maj. Carlos Falconi told CNN that rescuers continue to find survivors but mostly those who are trapped in their houses. The government said the death toll surpassed 700 Tuesday. Falconi said he expects the number of deaths will likely reach 1,000 when search-and-rescue operations are completed.

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Filed under: Brazil • Weather
soundoff (178 Responses)
  1. HeIsGod

    ellis, no seas tan pendejo or pendeja que solo abla estupidez.

    January 19, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. smart

    my guess is that "ellis" is an angry pimpled teenager with daddy issues. Ellis, you better quit playing on daddy's computer before you get your @ss beat again.

    January 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ellis

    Tu mama no te dijo que se la cojieron y quizo abortarte pero no resulto y saliste tu ella esta arrepentida de haberte parido por el culo

    January 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • HeIsGod

      Wow, you are making yourself look like a real dumb azz, ellis! You are making laugh with all of your bitterness and of course, you belong to Atheism....THAT ALONE EXPLAINS IT ALL, FOOL! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

      January 19, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • smart

      Ellis, que va a tener que jugar al escondite con la salchicha papá si no dejar la computadora

      January 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. smart

    ellis, go get daddy a beer and it better be cold or Im gonna lock you in the basement again.

    January 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. smart

    ellis, quit smelling your mom's dirty clothes and get back in the basement.

    January 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ellis

    Hey smart you are new on this debate I recomend you to stay out you seem to be a cuir

    January 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • smart

      Hey ellis, you are new to this reading level...I suggest you find something a little more age appropriate. Try the nickelodeon website.

      January 19, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. peter

    "but athiesm is for angry people with no purpose, no calling, and apparently from the looks of these posts,....no intelligence."

    Very funny,

    I am an atheist, and I live a moral, happy, loving life with no hate at in me at all. I don't need guidance from religion or God to choose how I am suppose to live. If you need religion or the lord to tell you the rules of your life, then my friend, that makes you dumb. More hate is born from God then any other cause in this world. So, you feeble minded people keep pushing the word of the Lord like some drug dealer. I will live my wonderful life as I have been, without some religious vomit telling me what rules to follow.

    If it was proven that there was no God, I wonder how many believers would become evil people, I say more then half.

    January 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • smart

      For someone who is moral, happy, and has no hate in them at all, you sure are quick to show intolerance to those who believe in higher power........like i said before, not very intelligent.

      January 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • adam

      ignore the imbeciles, they need god and jesus and all that to give them meaning in life. they are empty small minded folk. i grew up around these kind of people. its not all their fault they were raised to know nothing but religion. but when they start acting like they are better than other people is where its a problem. im slightly religious but also have an education and common sense lol. a book written by primitive people ages ago is not anything to take literaly. just maybe some ground rules to not be a complete peice of crap

      January 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • @BamBam

      Adam, i love you.

      January 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |

      I could not have said it better myself Pete.

      January 19, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • FirstResponder

      I could not have said it better myself either, Peter. Bravo!

      January 19, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ellis

    Hey smart i think you did your mom and your dum brother came out thats why she is always horni she likesto suc dcs

    January 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ellis

    Smart tu mama es una perra que se la coge tu abuelo por el culo

    January 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. marlin

    I am surprised what a little written about the glory of God can pull the demons out of their caves

    January 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. marlin

    If you are trying to figure out if God is fair maybe u need to look @ your own life . Is it fair u have air to breathe is it fair u have food in your stomach /// Is it a part of your life that God gave his only begotten Son to bleed out his life blood to forgive u all your sin REPENT

    January 19, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. marlin

    Your days r numbered what will u do with Jesus

    January 19, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ellis

    Smart your mother just called me she wants me to fuc her in the as i think she has aids i told her to fuc off

    January 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Wow ellis....wow......
      and i toally agree with sunny 😀

      January 19, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Schmit

    Praise the Lord. God is going to use this man, if He isn't already.

    "Why does God let these bad things happen?" Gotta love this question from the unbelievers. "If God is loving and kind, then why..." If you're just going to say things flippantly to make a point, then fine.. plenty of those round and about on this earth. But if you really want to know the answer to this, read the Bible. God is very plain in explaining why these things happen.

    Sadly, many stay in the pits of themselves and never peak their head out to get an answer to the question that they ask. Instead, they will look at themselves, their own reasoning and intellect, and then come up with an answer. Why not go to the source and get your answer?

    2+2=5. Why? Cuz i say so, my friends say so, family says so... It must be true. pffft. That's just turning a blind eye instead of researching why and finding out for myself. We can just listen to the radio, tv, news, family, friends, society, upbringing, etc. and let them teach us... cuz we know they all got it perfectly accurate, right? lol

    If you have a question about God, go to the bible and you'll find out what He says on the matter... If you are seeking to hear what lines up with your own thinking, then continue on as you have been... Pretty stupid to even debate with unbelievers... They don't really want the answer to the questions that they ask... all they want to do is show they are right and you are wrong. A waste of time unless they are really asking to get an understanding...

    January 19, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ellis

    Hey HelGod tell your mother not to call me she wants me to fuc her tell her im busy

    January 19, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
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