6 August 2013
In the town of Capiata, 20 km from Asunción in Paraguay, a team of 20 men is making an audacious attempt to win a Darwin Award by digging for gold in somewhat reckless manner. According to the Sky News report, 12 tonnes of gold was buried by a 19th Century military hero and ex-president by the name of Francisco Solano Lopez, who died in 1870. The brave excavators have created an impressively deep pit using heavy machinery (Francisco Solano Lopez clearly took no risks in terms of ensuring the gold was adequately hidden):
According to an AFP report, the leaders of the group said on Monday:
“We are close. We have already hit something. The accumulation of water is preventing us from recovering the gold. Today could be the day. We are very excited”
Unfortunately, the images of the site suggest that a deadly landslide is far more likely than finding the gold. The team are several metres down in an unstabilised pit in wet materials:
The early days of the construction industry is littered with examples in which such pits collapse, as this example illustrates. The likelihood of survival for anyone buried is very low – 30 cm of soil loading the chest of a victim is enough to prevent them from inflating their lungs. The Sky News reports notes that landslides are already occurring at the site; the risks here are very high indeed.