CAMPINAS, Brazil – A German man reportedly dumped by a Brazilian woman he met on the Internet camped out in an airport for 13 days before being taken Thursday to a hospital for a psychological evaluation.
The man, identified by authorities as Heinz Muller, was out of money and wouldn't say when he planned to leave, according to airport workers, some of whom brought him meals from the food court.
The 46-year-old former pilot spent his time wandering the airport in Campinas, an industrial city about an hour's drive from Sao Paulo, and using his laptop perched on a luggage cart. Occasionally he spoke to workers and passengers in basic Portuguese mixed with some Spanish.
While airport workers said they were getting used to Muller's presence and authorities said he could stay at the airport because he was in Brazil legally, doctors determined Muller needed to be checked out.
He put up slight resistance as he was taken away Thursday evening but authorities did not have to use force, said a representative of Brazil's civil aviation authority who spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with department policy.
Muller arrived in Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 2 and wound up at the airport after being dumped by a woman living nearby, a spokesman for the authority said, also on condition of anonymity. He had declined offers to stay at a shelter or in housing offered by nonprofit groups.
The case was similar to that of Hiroshi Nohara, a Japanese man who spent three months living in the Mexico City airport before leaving last December. Nohara turned into a local celebrity, and his story drew comparisons to that of Viktor Navorski, a character portrayed by Tom Hanks in the 2004 movie "The Terminal."
But Navorski was forced to stay at a New York City airport after war broke out in his Eastern European country, and officials said they could neither allow him into the U.S. nor deport him.
Muller washed himself in the airport bathrooms and slept on chairs in the airport's only terminal.
In a brief interview in English before he was taken to the hospital, Muller said that airport workers "are treating me OK" and that he wanted to move permanently to Latin America's largest country.
"I want to be living in Brazil in somewhere pretty," he said, declining to elaborate after an Associated Press reporter would not buy him the computer cable he demanded in return for answering questions.
Muller's passport says he is from Munich, though Muller told people in the airport he lives elsewhere in Germany, the aviation spokesman said. The German Embassy's media office in Brasilia declined to comment.