RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian influential people Pablo Marçal, 34, a self-proclaimed “savior life coach” with more than 2 million followers on Instagram, credits leading his dozens of devotees on spiritual hikes to the summit. The giant mountain Pico dos Marins, one of the highest in the state of São Paulo and the site of many disappearances and deaths over the years.
Forget the frigid temperatures, heavy rains and severe wind warnings issued that day; never mind his followers’ lack of preparation and equipment, or Marçal’s lack of experience as a hiking guide. The Tired Expedition begins in the early hours of January 5th — and leads to an attempted murder investigation.
It didn’t take long for some in the group to realize that their ascent to the 8,000-foot mountain might be unwise, given their conditions and lack of expertise. Scenes made by hikers and widely shared on Instagram showed heavy rains, dense fog and strong gusts of wind that destroyed all the tents they set up along the way. Of the 67 followers who started the journey, about 30 gave up halfway and returned to the foothills, and at least a dozen others stopped climbing two kilometers above the summit, according to a lifeguard. Fire joins rescuers who spoke to The Daily Beast.
“They were scared and completely drenched, with their morals shaken.”
“When we found this abandoned group… I could see the relief on their faces. They can’t even go down on their own because they are disabled and disoriented,” said Sergeant Douglas Nogueira. “They were scared and completely drenched, with their morals shaken. There are no elderly people in this group, but clearly many are not in the ideal physical condition to do the trail, especially at night and when it rains.”
The remaining followers eventually struggled to climb the mountain with Marçal, only to have some of them realize that they couldn’t go back for a part because they were too poor. weather conditions and low visibility. The São Paulo State Fire Department was dispatched to rescue the group at around 3:30 a.m. on January 6 in a nine-hour operation.
In the weeks that followed, millionaire life coach Pablo Marçal—who charges up to $5,000 for his life-improvement “courses” website That promise to “unlock” the path toward a better social and professional life — has been the target of fury from Brazilian government, the local hiking community and the general public. The São Paulo County District Attorney’s office considers his actions so serious that they told The Daily Beast Marçal is currently being investigated for attempted murder.
A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office said in a statement to The Daily Beast: “There is currently a police investigation into attempted murder charges, as those attending the event may have died of hypothermia. The spokesperson added that, under the new court order, Marçal has also been prohibited from “carrying out any outside activity of an essential nature without the prior and express permission of the Military Police, City Hall and Local Civil Defense” with the pretext of “A coach or in motivational programs.”
During the hike, Marçal was film encourages its followers to continue walking, stopping occasionally to pray for better weather conditions. “I know in my heart that we can make it. It’s going to be the worst experience ever… but we’re just praying to God for the wind to change direction,” he said. One woman can be heard asking Marçal what her kids will do “if something happens to me.” The influencer replied, “Do you believe in God?”
Marçal, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Daily Beast, told Brazil’s Globo The press reported: “Everybody there said: Pablo is irresponsible. I am not responsible for my own life. So everyone should take care of themselves.”
In a video on YouTube Posted the day after the incident, the life coach offered a similarly unrepentant response. “If you are a person who does not take risks, it will be difficult for you to dominate or reach the top. On the climb yesterday, we took a lot of risks,” he said. “Then someone said to me: But why take the risk? If you don’t want to take the risk, stay home and follow the stories.” He added that he had never “send anyone” up the mountain himself.
Marçal is no stranger to controversy. In 2010, the influencer was convicted dangerous thief after helping a criminal gang embezzle money from several banks using malware. Last year, a failed attempt by a life coach to get a paralyzed woman to walk was caught on camera (“Damn it,” he said, after realizing his fracture before a miracle had publicly failed), causing he became the furor of disability activists across Brazil.
Although everyone on the January 5 hiking trip was unharmed, the incident happened. description by the firefighters involved in the rescue was “completely irresponsible” and “the worst act ever seen on Pico dos Marins.”
On social media, professional climbers and guides lauded Marçal with posts about the incident that went viral on Instagram in Brazil. In a video published by a popular hiking account, a group of climbers banded together to create a satirical video with a unified message to influencers: “Respect the mountain.”