Video: Man, buried alive, hoisted from landslide mud

  1. Closed captioning of: Man, buried alive, hoisted from landslide mud

    >>> in brazil where floods and mud slides killed more than 665 people, something of a miracle. a man was pulled out from under 13 feet of mud after being buried alive for 16 hours. doctors are saying he's recovering well at a nearby hospital. it is now 7:07. back to matt, meredith and al. that's a nice story.

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 1/18/2011 8:30:16 AM ET 2011-01-18T13:30:16

A man has been rescued after being trapped for 16 hours by a landslide in Brazil.

The U.K.'s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Marcelo Fonseca, 42, was found buried under 13 feet of rubble.

Video footage shows rescuers digging through thick mud with their hands to reach Fonseca, who is seen covered from head to foot in dirt.

The landslide, caused by torrential rain and floods which hit Teresopolis and other towns north of Rio de Janeiro last week, wrecked his house.

The film was taken on Wednesday by Luciano Zimbrao, the Telegraph said, describing him as a journalist and friend of Fonseca.

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The paper said Zimbrao was unaware initially who was being pulled out of the mud.

'Crushed by a stone'
Fonseca, who was treated in a hospital intensive care unit, is expected to make a full recovery, the Telegraph said.

"When I opened the window I only heard that loud thud and I only had time to run. 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 told the newspaper.

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

Video: Watch the moment rescuers pull the man from the mud (on this page)

Fonseca said he struggled to to breathe because of the weight of mud pressing down on him.

Rescue and supply operations were still going on Monday, following the disasters, which have killed at least 655 people.

One helicopter team rescued five people Monday morning, Brazil's Air Force said in a statement, as clearer weather conditions allowed the aircraft to more safely navigate the craggy terrain.

Hundreds of people are believed to still be in areas at risk of fresh mudslides, some of them cut off from help by smashed roads and bridges while others refuse to leave for fear their houses will be raided by looters.

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The army is operating four helicopters from a makeshift base on the training ground for Brazil's national soccer team in the town of Teresopolis.

The death toll has risen steadily as rescuers dig out more bodies from the wreckage.

Authorities have given no estimates of the number of missing, but Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper said on Monday that 120 people are still unaccounted for.

Some residents have complained at what they say has been a slow response by authorities in getting basic supplies to isolated communities and helping people dig out dead relatives and friends.

"We want to leave. We have had no news, we don't know if our relatives died," Pedro Paulo da Silva, one of 40 residents in an isolated area, was quoted as saying by Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper after rescuers reached them at the weekend.

A fresh landslide on Sunday near the town of Petropolis killed three people, media reported, highlighting the risks posed by rain forecast for the region in the coming days.

In the capital Brasilia, the government sought to fend off criticism over its response by announcing that it would implement a national alert system to warn people in risky areas of approaching natural disasters.

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The announcement came after the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper reported that Brazil had failed to meet a series of recommendations on improving disaster preparedness made by the United Nations in 2005.

Citing a letter sent by Brazil's Civil Defense agency to the U.N. last November, it said the government had not yet implemented recommendations such as setting up the alert system and investing sufficiently in infrastructure in risky areas.

"There is a culture in Brazil of waiting for something to happen and then responding to it," the head of the Civil Defense agency, Humberto Vianna, was quoted as saying.

Still, little criticism has so far been directed at Brazil's new president, Dilma Rousseff, despite her single, brief visit to the disaster zone last week and her decision to spend the weekend far from the devastated region.

The federal government has earmarked 780 million reais ($463.5 million) in emergency aid for the region.

Brazil's Valor Economico newspaper praised Rousseff's response to the disaster in an editorial on Monday, saying she had passed the first test of her presidency by acting rapidly and taking adequate measures.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Photos: Mudslides in Brazil kill hundreds

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  1. A car, dragged inside a church by a mudslide, is seen in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on Friday, Jan. 21. Brazil will create a nationwide disaster-prevention and early-warning system following recent floods and landslides that killed more than 750 people in mountain towns north of Rio de Janeiro, government officials said Thursday. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A resident comes down a house destroyed by a landslides, in Nova Friburgo on Thursday, Jan. 20. (Mauricio Lima / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A dog from K9 de Creixell, a Spanish organization, searches for landslide victims in a damaged home in Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, Thursday, Jan. 20. Deaths from last week's mudslides rose to at least 727 and have left thousands homeless. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A girl receives a container of potable water from a soldier in the landslide-affected Alto Floresta neighborhood in Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, on Wednesday, Jan. 19. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Residents salvage items from their homes after a landslide in the Alto Floresta neighborhood of Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 19. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Red Cross volunteers stack donated clothes at a relief center in Teresopolis, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Wednesday, Jan 19. Brazilian officials began moving thousands of people out of at-risk areas near Rio in a flooding disaster that has already left at least 727 people dead. Ten teams of civil defense and environment officials were evacuating residents in outlying areas of Nova Friburgo, the hardest-hit town, said their commander, Colonel Roberto Robadey. (Vanderlei Almeida / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Brazilian National Force rescue workers carry the body of a boy on the scene of a recent landslide, where seven people were found buried among debris in the neighbourhood of Jardilandia, in Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, on Jan. 19. (Mauricio Lima / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Residents of Sumidouro, one of the mudslide-hit towns north of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, unload supplies from a navy helicopter on Tuesday, Jan. 18. Brazil has sent around 700 troops to help areas desperate for aid. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. A man cleans up at a fabric store in Nova Friburgo on Monday. (Mauricio Lima / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Severely eroded portions of mountains are seen Monday near Nova Friburgo, where dozens died. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A woman cries while holding her newborn baby after being rescued by helicopter from an isolated area near Petropolis on Monday. (Vanderlei Almeida / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. A house remains standing on Monday even though the rest of the hillside in a rural area north of Rio de Janeiro collapsed. (Bruno Domingos / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A few of the thousands of landslide victims rest at a shelter on Monday. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Damage to a road near the town of Nova Friburgo is seen Monday. Dozens of people died in the town. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

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    Rescue workers and residents of Nova Friburgo recover the body of a young landslide victim on Monday. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Gravediggers carry the coffin of a victim at a cemetery in Nova Friburgo on Monday. (Mauricio Lima / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Isaura Martin dos Santos waits for medical attention at a hospital in Nova Friburgo on Monday. (Antonio Lacerda / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Rescue workers search for victims after a landslide in Nova Friburgo on Sunday. (Ricardo Moraes / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Paulo Rodrigues da Silva, left, reacts as he embraces a relative he found at a shelter for people displaced by landslides in Nova Friburgo, Brazil, Jan. 16. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Rescue workers climb on a helicopter after searching for survivors and victims in an area affected by a landslide near Nova Friburgo, Brazil, Jan. 16. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. People affected by recent landslides of mud and rock in Teresopolis, Brazil, receive drinking water on Jan. 16. (Vanderlei Almeida / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Ludmila Moura, 5, sits on a mattress at a shelter for people displaced by landslides in Nova Friburgo, Brazil, Jan. 16. Ludmila was pulled out of her destroyed house by her father, Marcelo Moura, on the first night of heavy rains last Thursday. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Residents flee the Campo Grande neighborhood after the area was devastated by recent landslides of mud and rock, in Teresopolis, Brazil, Jan. 16. (Vanderlei Almeida / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. A dog, "Leao", sits for a second consecutive day, next to the grave of her owner, Cristina Maria Cesario Santana, who died in the week's catastrophic landslides in Brazil, at the cemetery in Teresopolis, near Rio de Janiero, on Jan. 15. (Vanderlei Almeida / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Local residents look at partially buried vehicles in Nova Friburgo, Brazil, Saturday, Jan. 15, after heavy rains hit Rio de Janeiro for several days. More than 500 people have died due to floods. (Antonio Lecedra / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. A resident is reflected in a mirror at a destroyed house in Teresopolis, Brazil, Saturday, Jan. 15. (Bruno Domingos / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. A house is buried in an area affected by mudslides in Floresta in Nova Friburgo, Brazil, Friday, Jan. 14. (Vanderlei Almeida / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. A woman is helped by residents after being rescued from a landslide in Teresopolis, Brazil, Friday, Jan. 14. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Residents stand on safe ground after a landslide in Teresopolis, Friday, Jan. 14. (Bruno Domingos / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. People mourn during the burial of a landslide victim in Teresopolis, Friday, Jan. 14. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. An aerial view of a neighborhood partially destroyed by a landslide caused by heavy rains in Nova Friburgo, Jan. 13. Rescue workers dug desperately for survivors on Thursday and struggled to reach areas cut off by raging floods and landslides that have killed hundreds of people in one of Brazil's worst natural disasters in decades. (Shana Reis  / Government of Rio via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. A nurse receives medical attention after fainting in front of the police station in which several bodies are being counted after the heavy rains in Teresópolis, Jan. 13. (Antonio Lacerda / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. People bury victims of a landslide in Teresopolis, Jan. 13. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. 6-month old baby Nicolas Guimaraes s rescued from the wreckage caused by a mudslide in Nova Friburgo, January 12. (Marcus Vini / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Rescue team works in the zone affected by a landslide after heavy rains in the city of Nueva Friburgo, Jan. 13. (Jadson Marques / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Roberta Machado Correia, who survived a landslide, attends the burial of a friend in Teresopolis, Jan. 13. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Rescue workers remove a live rabbit as they search for survivors inside a home destroyed by a landslide in Teresopolis, Jan. 13. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. A church sits surrounded by debris Wednesday, Jan. 12, after a mudslide hit this area of Teresopolis, Brazil. (Antonio Lacerda / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Flooded areas Wednesday included this street in Franco da Rocha. (Paulo Whitaker / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Areas ripped away by slides are seen Wednesday in Teresopolis. (Fabio Motta / Zuma Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Rescue workers search for victims Wednesday in a low-income neighborhood of Teresopolis. (Vanderlei Almeida / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Damage in Teresopolis is seen on Wednesday. (Antonio Lacerda / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Debris lines this street Thursday in the Caleme neighborhood of Teresopolis. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. People stand on the porch of their home in the Caleme neighborhood of Teresopolis on Thursday. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. Cars like this one in the Caleme neighborhood of Teresopolis littered the mudslide areas on Thursday. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. Rescue workers remove debris in their search for victims in Teresopolis on Wednesday. (Vanderlei Almeida / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Rain continued Thursday as destruction lined the roads of towns like Teresopolis. (Felipe Dana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. Debris is seen Wednesday in the city of Nova Frigurgo, one of the hardest hit areas. (Bruno Domingos / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Editor's note:
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    A man reacts as he walks close to bodies among the debris in Teresopolis on Wednesday. (Roberto Ferreira / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. A victim is rescued Wednesday in Teresopolis. (Marino Azevedo / Handout via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. Survivors take refuge in a gymnasium in Teresopolis on Thursday. (Vanderlei Almeida / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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