Beloved Soap Actor Drowns After Filming Witnesses thought Brazilian was acting By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Sep 16, 2016 3:24 AM CDT 14 comments Comments Domingos Montagner (YouTube) (Newser) – Brazil is mourning beloved actor Domingos Montagner, whose death strongly resembles a plot twist from the soap opera he starred in. The BBC reports that the 54-year-old drowned after going for a swim in the Sao Francisco River with co-star Camila Pitanga following a day of filming in the area. She cried for help as the strong current dragged him away, but witnesses were slow to help, apparently believing that the situation was part of the show. Montagner, who started out as a circus clown, starred in Velho Chico, Brazil's most popular soap opera, which dramatizes life around the northeastern river he died in. Authorities say that even if witnesses had acted faster, they probably couldn't have saved Montagner from the current. "They thought they had chosen a safe spot to swim, but that is one of the most dangerous areas in the town of Caninde and usually avoided by locals," the local police chief says. Forbes notes that just a month ago, Montagner's body was depicted floating in the Sao Francisco at the end of a cliffhanger episode in which he had been shot at and chased into the river.