ENTERTAINMENT

Popular Brazilian actor dies after cops mistake drowning for soap opera scene

A popular Brazilian actor drowned near where he had been recording scenes for a soap opera, authorities said Thursday.

Domingos Montagner, one of the country’s best-known soap opera stars, had gone for a swim in the São Francisco River with his "Velho Chico" ("Old Boy") co-star, actress Camila Pitanga, when he was pulled away by a strong current. She tried to grab him but was not able to reach him in time.

The actress began screaming for help, but authorities nearby failed to act because they thought the commotion was part of a scene being filmed for the show, according to the BBC.

The two are actors in the country’s most popular soap opera. They had recently wrapped up scenes for the show on location in Canindé, in the state of Sergipe.

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

Jose Aparecido Cardoso, director of the state Legal Medical Institute, told the G1 news portal that 54-year-old actor's body was found 60 feet below the surface and 1,000 feet from where he was last seen.

In "Velho Chico," Montagner played a farmer who often had to fight off gunmen. Globo TV produces the series and says the crew had been shooting in the area.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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