Saturday 17 March 2018

Mum shot as gang opens fire on family after straying into favela near Rio de Janeiro

Eloise Dixon was shot in Brazil
Eloise Dixon was shot in Brazil

A woman has been shot while on holiday in Brazil after her family took a wrong turning and drove into a notorious slum near Rio de Janeiro.

The 46-year-old British mother of three, named locally as  Eloise Dixon from Kent, was said to be in a stable condition in hospital after being shot twice in the stomach.

Police said Mrs Dixon had been travelling by car near the popular coastal holiday resort of Angra dos Reis with her husband and three children, when they accidentally drove into a a crime-ridden slum.

It is thought the family may have been looking for somewhere to buy water when they were given wrong directions after a language mix up.

After driving into the favella a group approached the car and reportedly told the family to get out before opening fire, authorities said.

The woman was hit twice in the abdomen and was rushed to hospital where she underwent surgery.

Mr and Mrs Dixon, who have three daughters, were thought to have been on holiday in the popular resort of Angra dos Reis, and had hired a car to explore the surrounding area

Bruno Gilaberte, local police chief, told O Globo newspaper that the family were looking for water at the time and had been told to head towards the area of Água Santa, or holy water.

Eloise Dixon with her husband
Eloise Dixon with her husband

"Because of the difficulty with the language, there was this confusion. They ended up going to the Holy Water community, where they were approached by the criminals. Because they did not understand the order to leave, they continued on and were shot," he said.

Rodrigo Mucheli, medical director at Japuiba General Hospital where Mrs Dixon underwent surgery, said she was very lucky because “the bullet travelled through her abdomen but luckily didn’t hit any major arteries or vital organs.”

Her husband was driving at the time and their three children were on the back seat.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are in touch with the local authorities in Angra dos Reis, Brazil, following reports of the shooting of a British national."

Tourists in Brazil have occasionally been attacked when they accidentally stray into slums, which are often controlled by criminal gangs.

The Foreign Office advises tourists to be wary of straying into favelas.

"All favelas are unpredictably dangerous areas, and remain high risk given the level of violence within them and the severe strain on police resources," its website says. 

"Take extra care when using GPS navigation in Brazilian cities, particularly Rio de Janeiro, that the suggested route doesn’t take you into a favela."

Two years ago, a 70-year-old businesswoman was shot dead after using a mobile phone app which made her take a wrong turn into a favela in Rio de Janeiro.

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