A CNN reporter in Brazil was attacked by a homeless man in a terrifying moment caught live on air.

Bruna Macedo and her news crew were broadcasting from Sao Paulo's Bandeiras Bridge, reporting on the rising water level – as a result of heavy rain – of the Teté River behind them.

The suspect can be seen in the background, looking over a bridge barrier, during the segment, while Macedo spoke with anchor Rafael Colombo.

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Roughly two minutes pass before the man appears beside Macedo, who continued to carry out her broadcast.

At first, Macedo greeted the man while Colombo, in the CNN studio, spoke about the flooding points in the city.

But the man then pulled out a knife, causing the shocked reporter to take a couple of steps away and hand over a mobile phone.

The camera then panned away from the scene, focusing instead on a shot of the wet street.

Macedo subsequently handed over a second phone before the attacker fled the scene.

The reporter wasn't injured, Colombo told Brazilian newspaper Fohla de Sao Paulo, and returned to the CNN studio after the incident.

"She had a terrible scare, but she is fine," he said.