British woman shot in Brazil 'after getting lost'

Image caption,
Eloise Dixon and her family had reportedly ended up in a favela because of a miscommunication

A British woman who was shot after she reportedly travelled to a Brazilian favela by mistake is "lucky" to be alive, according to a local hospital.

Eloise Dixon, her partner and their three children were driving in Angra dos Reis on Sunday, when their car was approached by an armed group, Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported.

She was shot twice, once in the abdomen, but is recovering in hospital.

Ms Dixon's family were unhurt, the paper added.

O Globo said the family had apparently been searching for water to buy in Angra dos Reis - a coastal resort about 90 miles (145 km) from Rio de Janeiro.

According to the O Dia newspaper, they ended up in the Agua Santa - or holy water - community because of a difficulty in understanding the language.

The slum area is known to have drug traffickers.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Images shown on Brazilian television show the family's car with a flattened tyre
Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Images of the family's car shows damage to the front seat after the shooting

Authorities told O Globo the family were shot at after they were told to leave their car by armed men but did not understand the request.

One bullet was aimed at the head of Ms Dixon, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, but missed, while two others hit her in the abdomen. Neither of them hit any vital organs.

The director of the hospital where she was treated, Rodrigo Mucheli, told Brazilian media: "The projectile passed through the abdomen and fortunately did not hit the big vessels. She was really lucky."

Ms Dixon, from south-east London, is now reportedly in a stable condition after she underwent two hours of surgery.

A UK Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are assisting the family of a British woman who has been hospitalised in Angra dos Reis, Brazil.

"Our staff remain in contact with the local authorities."

Danger in the favelas

By Katy Watson, BBC South America correspondent

Angra dos Reis, the place that Eloise Dixon was shot, is a jumping-off point for some of Brazil's most famous tourist destinations. It's where tourists catch ferries to head to the beaches of Ilha Grande and not far away is the popular colonial town of Paraty.

But while most tourists would feel safe in those parts, this shooting just shows how easy it is to get caught up in troubles.

Agua Santa is a favela, or slum. A poor neighbourhood that would have probably started informally but then integrated into the main city. They are often controlled by drugs gangs so tourists are not advised to go in without a local resident or guide.

This shooting of Eloise Dixon isn't the first. There have been similar incidents in the city of Rio, with tourists following instructions from mobile apps and straying into favela territory with fatal consequences.