An ex-British soldier saved his family from a heavily armed drug gang by driving expertly with blown out tyres until he got them to safety.
Brave ex-para, Max Dixon, was driving with his family in the car when he mistakenly drove into a slum controlled by a drug gang and their car was riddled with bullets. His wife Eloise Dixon, 46, was shot in front of their three children and Max swung into action and drove them out of there as bullets rained on their car.
With tyres blown out, Max, 46, now a fireman after leaving the Parachute Regiment, drove his rental vehicle out of the Brazilian favela to safety. He made it to a roadside police station to raise the alarm and officers rushed his wife to the hospital. Thankfully, Eloise’s gunshot wound was not fatal. Doctors said she was “very lucky” as “the bullet travelled through her abdomen but luckily didn’t hit any major arteries or vital organs.”
Max’s mum Hazel, 76, said yesterday:
“I think she was so lucky. It could so easily have been different. It’s not worth thinking about. The three little girls were in the back, they are all absolutely traumatised. But they are all ok.”
A bullet was found embedded in Mrs Dixon’s passenger seat headrest. Police believe she either ducked or was bent over in pain and the shot flew above her. The couple’s daughters, Isabella, 13, Holly, 8 and Alice, 7, escaped unhurt in the back of the car.
“He’s just the right person for that to happen to because his Army training will have kicked in immediately. I can’t think of anyone who’d be more on the ball in that situation. He phoned and very matter-of-factly said, ‘Things aren’t too good here, Eloise has been shot’, or something like that. Max said the car was absolutely riddled with shots. The police took them to hospital at 100mph, he said. They weren’t hanging around.”
The Dixon family, from Bromley, South East London, are well-travelled and were a week into a 17-day summer holiday when they were attacked on Sunday afternoon. They were in Angra dos Reis, a popular coastal holiday spot around 90 miles from Rio de Janeiro, and were hoping to buy water but a language mix-up took them to the notorious Agua Santa (Holy Water) neighbourhood, controlled by the Terceiro Comando Puro gang.
Police chief Bruno Gilaberte said:
“They were shot at after failing to understand an order to leave the area.”
A local official said that area was a no-go zone. “These are communities which people cannot enter,” he said.