A man has died after falling down a 130-foot hole he had dug under his kitchen floor while trying to find the gold he believed was buried there.
Joao Pimenta da Silva, a 71-year-old from Brazil, fell down the hole after losing his balance.
The 71-year-old’s neighbours said he had become obsessed with his belief that there was gold buried under his property in the Ipatinga area in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais after dreaming he was sitting on a fortune.
Neighbour Arnaldo told local media that Joao had been digging the hole for more than a year, and had hired people to carry out the excavating work.
He said: “He began by paying 70 Brazilian Reais (£11.30) a day when the hole was still shallow but the deeper he went the more the costs went up.
“He ended up paying around £80 to anyone who entered the hole and helped to remove earth.
“He had hit a large stone that appeared which was difficult to remove and there were rumours he had been talking about trying to get hold of dynamite.”
The neighbour said Joao claimed to have been told by a “spirit” in a dream there was gold under the rock below his kitchen floor and he tried to warn him of the dangers of his mission but was ignored.
The tragedy that led to the man’s death occurred on January 5. Firefighters confirmed they received a call around 1.30pm that day to a house in a neighbourhood called Betania after the owner suffered a fall of approximately 130ft but were unable to do anything to save his life.
Photos of the hole, which was around 35 inches in diameter and went down the equivalent of around 12 floors, have been published in the Brazilian press.
Local reports said the victim is believed to have slipped and plunged to his death from a wooden platform near the top of the hole as he tried to exit it following work to remove water and mud.
A friend he was working with was unable to save him.
His body was removed by the emergency services. He was found to have suffered head injuries and broken legs as well as other fractures.