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Soap star drowns, witnesses think it's part of show

(AP)

A Brazil soap opera star has drowned in a river after witnesses mistakenly thought the real-life tragedy happening in front of them was part of his show's filming.

Domingos Montagner was swimming with his co-star, Camila Pitanga, when he was dragged under and carried away by the current. The BBC reports she called for help, but locals thought it was a scene for the show and were slow to help.

Authorities, however, said there was little that anyone could have done, the BBC reports.

The 54-year-old actor starred in Velho Chico. The BBC reports the show's name, loosely translated as "Old Frank," is a reference to the So Francisco river Montagner was swimming in when he died.

Montagner's body was found underwater downstream.

The local police chief said the area was not safe, and that locals avoid the area for swimming, the O Globo newspaper reports.

Montagner had been married for 14 years to actress Luciana Lima, with whom he had three children.

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