Woman ‘buried alive spends 11 days trying to fight her way out of coffin’

Credit: Globo G1

Her family smashed open the stone tomb but it was sadly too late.

A woman was reportedly buried alive and left to lay conscious inside her coffin for eleven days. Her family smashed open the stone tomb after locals heard screams coming from the grave, but it was sadly too late.

By the time they had prised open the wooden casket, which had been nailed shut, Rosangela Almeida dos Santos, 37, was dead.

From the state of the coffin, it appears she had desperately tried to fight her way out. A video has emerged showing the commotion in the Senhora Santana cemetery in Riachao das Neves, northeast Brazil, as some men took out the heavy coffin and removed the lid.

People shout for an ambulance as others touch her and say how warm she feels. Ms Santos 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. She had suffered injuries on her hands and forehead where it appeared she had tried to fight her way out.

The nails around the sides of the coffin lid had also been pushed upwards, and there were scratches and blood on the inside, reports claim.

Ms Santos, who was married but didn’t have children, had been in hospital for a week after being rushed there by her family with severe fatigue. She went into cardiac arrest before dying from ‘septic shock’, according to her death certificate.

Her family buried her in a concrete tomb at the municipal cemetery in her home town of Riachao das Neves, the following day.

Local resident Natalina Silva told Brazil’s G1 website that many people heard muffled screams coming from the grave. She said: ‘When I got there right in front of the tomb, I heard banging from inside it. People are heard saying her body is warm as they open the coffin.

‘I thought the kids who play around the cemetery were playing a joke on me. Then I heard her groan twice, and after those two groans she stopped.’

Ms Santos’ mother, Germana de Almeida, 66, said: ‘She had tried to open the lid, even the nails that had been hammered in were loose.

‘Her hands were injured, like she had been trying to get out.’

The family believe she was declared dead in error.

Ms Santos’ sister, Isamara Almeida, said: ‘We don’t want to accuse any doctor, we don’t want to cause any problems.

‘But we witnessed that situation, there’s just no way a person can be buried for 11 days and still be warm.’

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.’

A spokesman for the hospital that declared her dead said they ‘will provide all necessary information requested from them to the family and authorities’.