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Wednesday 22.05.2019 | Name days: Emīlija

Tragedy: young man climbs the Vansu Bridge, then jumps

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On Thursday, June 7, some young man climbed up the Vansu Brigde in Riga and jumped from it, falling on the tram lines below. The young man died from his injuries.

The Police have determined that the man, born in 1992, had mental issues. Chief of Riga region department of State Police Andejs Grisins told in an interview to 900 seconds broadcast of LNT television channel that police operatives have already begun an investigation.

The man fell on the tram lines below. It is unofficially known that he was still alive for some time after his fall. He was given to an ambulance brigade that arrived there, but it was already too late to save him, so the man died in the ambulance truck.

The man began his ascend up the Vansu Bridge around 15:55, at 17:15 he reached the top of the bridge and at 17.20 – jumped down from it.

Police, ambulance, State firefighter and rescue service brigades were dispatched to the scene. Traffic on both sides of the bridge was closed; cyclists and pedestrians were also denied from entering the area. Traffic jams began piling in Riga Centre and on other bridges.

Rescuers arrived at the scene when the daredevil had already climbed 15 meters up the cables, but he did not give up and continued climbing up. SFRS operatives deployed a forklift truck, but it was not enough to reach the climber.

A large crowd of people gathered on the bridge. The climber gave them blessings of Christ, and, while glorifying God and Mother Mary, continued climbing up, without making any demands.

At 17:15, the daredevil reached the top of the bridge, where no one was waiting for him. Meanwhile, police special forces had arrived on the scene, but they were not able to begin negotiation.

Around 17.20, the man, standing on the very edge of the top of the bridge with a view of the right bank of Daugava River, crossed himself and jumped down. While falling he broke the connection of the tram lines below.

After these tragic events, Riga City Council Chairman Nils Ushakovs (HC) demanded explanations as to why it was possible for this man to climb up the cables of the bridge, even though the order to apply a special type of slippery paint on the cables was given not too long ago to prevent such incidents from happening, press secretary Anna Nononova informed LETA agency.

«Department officials will answer for this incompetence, probably even leave their posts», – Ushakovs pointed. The Transport department will be given an objective to seek additional measures to limit the access to the cables of the bridge.

The layer of the slippery paint, which is usually applied on the cables of the Vansu Bridge, was not renewed this spring. Riga Council Transport department representative Ilze Dislere explained that road maintenance workers inspected the cables before and after the winter period and concluded that the layer was sufficient enough and did not renew it. Renewal of the slippery layer costs around 1000 LVL, but funds for this operation were not allocated by the department’s budget this year.

In the last ten years, there have been at least ten attempts to climb the cables of Vansu Bridge, but Thursday’s incident is the first one with a fatal outcome, LETA archives show.

In summer of 2002, some man tried to «conquer» the Vansu Bridge, twice in fact. In November, 2003, some man tried climbing up the Vansu Bridge via the longest cable.

In April, 2004, some daredevil succeeded in both climbing up the top of the bridge and successfully making his way down.

2006 witnessed three attempts to climb the bridge – in January, some man climbed up 30-40 meters up the cables of the bridge, rescuers’ services were unnecessary because the man successfully climbed down on his own. In April of the same year, some man tried climbing the cables while being is a state of alcoholic intoxication. Two young people tried climbing the cables in August as well.

In 2007, some 29-year-old man tried climbing the cables of the bridge. Rescuers discouraged him from doing so and transported him safely on the ground via the forklift truck.

In September last year, some man climbed up half way up the Vansu Bridge. After the police arrived at the scene the man willingly climbed back down. After being delivered to the police station, the man could not explain the motive of his actions. In November last year, another daredevil climbed up the Vansu Bridge. After talking to the police, he willingly climbed back down.

In October, 1994, a repair man fell from the bridge on the road below during repair works. The man died.

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