Man dies trying to set mark for being buried alive

BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI
Last updated 08:54 06/03/2012

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A Sri Lankan man has died while trying to set a record for the longest time spent buried alive.

Police said Janaka Basnayake, 24, buried himself over the weekend with the help of family and friends in a trench sealed with wood and soil in the town of Kantale, about 220 kilometres north of Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo. A local newspaper reported that the trench was three metres deep.

Basnayake was buried at around 9.30am Saturday (local time). Police said that when he was brought to the surface at 4pm, he was unconscious and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Dr DG Costa of the Kantale hospital said a post-mortem could not determine the cause of death and further medical investigations are being conducted.

Basnayake's mother, LD Leelawathi, said her son had enjoyed performing unusual acts since his childhood - a liking that grew after watching movies, the Lankadeepa newspaper reported.

It quoted her as saying that her son had been buried alive on two previous occasions - for two and a half hours and six hours respectively.

It was unclear whether there is an official world record for the longest time buried alive.

Police said Basnayake was a member of the Civil Defense Force, a police unit that fought in the country's 25-year civil war.

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- AP

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