A woman is believed to have been buried alive by mistake and lay conscious inside her coffin for eleven days while trying to fight her way out. Screams were heard from the grave of Rosangela Almeida dos Santos, 37, and when her body was exhumed they found blood inside the coffin and injuries to her wrists consistent with a desperate struggle to break out.
The wooden casket had been nailed shut and buried inside a stone tomb but when her family smashed it open last Friday they found her warm, injured body was already lifeless.
A video has emerged showing the commotion in the Senhora Santana cemetery in Riachao das Neves, northeast Brazil, as local men took out the heavy coffin and removed the lid.
Some people ask to call an ambulance as others touch the woman’s feet and comment on how warm she feels.
The woman was declared dead by a hospital on January 28 and was buried the next day.
People living near to the cemetery alerted her family on February 9 – 11 days after she had been laid to rest – after hearing screams and bangs coming from inside the tomb.
Her body was still warm and it was turned in a different position to that in which it had been placed in the coffin. The nails around the sides of the coffin lid had also been pushed upwards, and there were scratches and blood on the inside, they claim.
Cotton wool which had been in the woman’s ears and nostrils had come out and she had injuries on her hands and forehead where it appeared she had tried to fight her way out.
Ms Santos had been at the Hospital do Oeste in Barreiras, in Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia, for a week after being rushed there by her family with severe fatigue. She suffered two cardiac arrests before dying from “septic shock”, according to her death certificate.
The family believe that Ms Santos was declared dead in error and have reported the incident to police.
Police chief Arnaldo Monte, who is leading the investigation, said: “We have today started to take statements from family members and other people. “If need be we will exhume Ms Santos’ body again so we can get to the bottom of what really happened.”
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