Man falls to his death after drawbridge opens while he was crossing it
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A 77-year-old man tragically fell to his death after a drawbridge he was crossing opened while he was still on it.
Richard Dujardin was halfway across the bridge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Monday, when it began to rise.
He was due to fly home to Rhode Island later that day with his wife Rose-Marie, but they wanted to make it to mass at a nearby church before they left.
While his wife made it across the bridge, sadly Dujardin was yet to make it as he walked slowly.
A report from the Milwaukee County medical examiner, obtained by WDJT-TV, also said that he wore a hearing aid and was looking at an iPad at the time of the incident.
The report said he tried to catch up to his wife as the bridge began to rise, but wasn’t fast enough.
“The lights, bells, and arms came down at each end of the bridge, however Richard was hard of hearing and it is thought that he didn’t notice them,” the report read.
“When it started to rise he panicked and grabbed onto the side rail. The bridge continued to rise until it was straight up at a 90° angle.”
It said that he managed to cling onto the railing for 1-2 minutes before losing his grip, falling 71 feet to the pavement below.
Police performed CPR at the scene, but tragically nothing could be done to save him and Dujardin died of his severe head injuries.
The bridge that he was crossing is controlled off-site by the Department of Public Works via cameras. The operator has two camera views of the bridge which need to be checked before it is raised.
While Dujardin was wearing dark coloured clothes, it’s unclear why the camera workers didn’t spot him.
One person said: “This is incredibly tragic. So very sad and devastating. May he rest in peace.”
Another wrote: “That poor man! What a tragedy. I can't even begin to imagine how awful it was for him to be holding on hoping to be rescued & for his wife who witnessed it!?! Very sad. My condolences to the family. May he RIP.”
“That’s so sad. The wife was there and had to witness his death. My heart goes out to her. My condolences to the family! Rest with God,” said another.
One user who knew the man called him a gentle soul.
“I knew this gentle soul. He was a wonderful person. My mom used to work with him at the Providence Journal. This is such a devastating loss. He touched so many lives. May he rest in peace with our Lord,” they said.
Another said they were in the area and saw the tragic aftermath of the accident saying: “I saw the aftermath of this accident in person and saw this poor guy lying there with the tarp over his body. Also saw how distraught his wife was. She has to live with this now. Very sad, indeed.”
Dujardin worked as a religion reporter for 47 years at The Providence Journal, according to a tribute written about him in the newspaper.
He had six children and also received the William A Reed Lifetime Achievement Award from the Religion News Association.
His son, Peter, told the outlet: “He really tried valiantly to save his own life. He never wanted to die young.”
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677
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