Pensioner, 71, plunges 130ft to his death down hole he dug under his kitchen floor after


A pensioner has died after plunging down a 130-ft hole he dug under his kitchen floor after dreaming he had gold buried under it.

Joao Pimenta da Silva, 71, plunged down the shaft he had excavated after losing his balance from a swing seat at his home in Brazil.

Neighbours said the pensioner had become obsessed with the idea there was gold buried in the area under the property in the municipality of Ipatinga in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais he was trying to reach.

Arnaldo da Silva told local media: ‘Joao had spent more than a year digging the hole and hired many people to do the excavating work.

‘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.

A pensioner has died after plunging down a 130-ft hole he dug under his kitchen floor after dreaming he had gold buried under it (pictured)

A pensioner has died after plunging down a 130-ft hole he dug under his kitchen floor after dreaming he had gold buried under it (pictured)

Joao Pimenta da Silva, 71, plunged down the shaft he had excavated after losing his balance from a swing seat at his home in Brazil

Joao Pimenta da Silva, 71, plunged down the shaft he had excavated after losing his balance from a swing seat at his home in Brazil

‘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 gold-digger’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.

Extraordinary 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.

Other reports said the platform was an access seat from a child’s swing which he used to enter the hole. At the time, he was working to remove water and earth.

A friend – Antonio Wilson Costa – he was working with was unable to save him. He was the one to witness the fall, and said that da Silva’s seat came loose.

His body was removed by the emergency services. He was found to have suffered head injuries and broken legs as well as other fractures.

‘After (the) dream, the elderly man started digging a hole about 90 centimeters in diameter and at least 40 meters deep,’ the Fire Department said in a statement.

‘There was no information on how long the whole process took or how the complex excavation was organised,’ they noted.

The 2nd sergeant of the Minas Gerais Fire Brigade, Luís Filipe de Miranda, told the Estado newspaper that Silva probably had experience with excavations and would have had professional help. 

He said that although the equipment used was ‘archaic’ and ‘homemade’, the vertical tunnel cut was ‘perfect’.

‘This tunnel looks like something alien, with the perfection with which he dug it: very small diameter, very perfect cylinder, 40m deep,’ Miranda said.

‘We found compressors, specific jackhammers’ used for tunnel digging.

The neighbour said Joao (pictured) 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 neighbour said Joao (pictured) 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.

He also pointed out that the hole he found was completely shored up.

‘It’s a science to get down. Very complicated, but he had experience. We don’t know what he did in this regard,’ he said.

On the other hand, Miranda highlighted serious safety problems. 

‘In the images you can see that it’s all very archaic, homemade, contrived. There’s no fixed support structure. His struts for climbing up don’t have screws in the ground. He was descending on a kind of child’s seesaw, without a belt, without safety.’



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