Police rescued a nine-year-old girl from three feet of mud as she was struggling to breathe.
Officers were filmed clawing the mud away with their bare hands after deciding heavy machinery could injure the schoolgirl.
It is not known how the girl got trapped and the Sao Paulo Military Police said they were on patrol when they were approached by a woman who said a small child had become buried in the mud.
Rain was forecast and there were fears that would make the rescue efforts even harder and killed the girl.
The police and other bystanders used their hands to dig holes through the mud but they did not know exactly where the child was submerged.
They eventually found the girl about a metre deep in the mud and theywere able to clear her airways, though she still had trouble breathing as the clay was pushing on her chest.
The police said they were able to remove the girl, called Isabele, who was taken to the local hospital and was said to be doing well.
It is not clear how the girl became trapped.