Horror at the Highland Games as a 22lb hammer thrown by a competitor ‘flies over a hedge’ killing a 65-year-old man in castle grounds

AN OLD man was killed in a hammer throw accident at the Highland Games in the Netherlands.

A metal ball from the sporting event hit the 65-year-old, who died at the scene, local police confirmed.

The traditional Highland Games hammer throw involves throwing a wooden pole with a metal ball at the end (stock photo)

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The traditional Highland Games hammer throw involves throwing a wooden pole with a metal ball at the end (stock photo)Credit: Alamy
Geldrop Castle in North Brabant, Netherlands hosted the Open Highland Games

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Geldrop Castle in North Brabant, Netherlands hosted the Open Highland GamesCredit: Alamy

According to witnesses, the passer-by had walked on one side of a hedge in the gardens near Geldrop Castle in North Brabant – on the other side was the site of the Open Highland Games.

Suddenly, “a metal ball from the sporting event” flew over him and hit him.

Emergency services, including a helicopter involved in the accident, rushed to the scene, but unfortunately the walker could not be saved.

The hammer throw is a traditional part of the ancient games where competitors swing a “hammer” around their head and throw it as far as possible.

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The hammer itself is a wooden rod with a metal ball attached to it, typically weighing 22 pounds for males or 16 pounds for females.

A witness told local Omroep Brabant news agency: “The pendulum fell, we saw the ball fly over the hedge and then we heard a woman scream very loudly.

“It wasn’t a spectator … so he didn’t see the ball coming at all.”

Spectators had watched the horror unfold but the event was quickly halted after the incident.

The witness added: “When something went wrong, some people from the organization immediately ran to the victim. They started resuscitation.”

Another visitor who witnessed the accident also told Omroep Brabant: “We weren’t allowed to stand where that ball finally landed.

“But people could go behind the hedge. Below it was open, there we saw their feet and prams, which they passed. We were surprised before that.”

The witness went on to say: “The boy who was swinging the ball was absolutely beside himself. He wasn’t a rookie, he was really a top player who had competed in big competitions before.”

The police are investigating how the accident happened and whether the event required a permit.

However, a spokesman for the municipality told Omroep Brabant that the organization had not submitted an application as it was assumed that the castle estate’s permanent event permit was sufficient.

Village Marketing Geldrop-Mierlo organizer foundation chairman Adri Geerts told local media: “We are stunned that something like this can happen.

“You don’t expect it, it’s the greatest catastrophe that can happen to any of us. We’re devastated.”

“I was super excited about the event and all the people that were there.

“The fact that someone dies in an accident makes me very sad.”

Geerts said attendees at the event were completely distraught but received help from Victim Support.

On the man who threw the gavel, Geerts added: “I haven’t spoken to him myself, but he’s completely upset, it should never have happened to him.

“These are players who play this game internationally at a high level and with a lot of experience and are extremely experienced, but then an accident can obviously happen.”

Deputy Mayor Hans van de Laar said: “We are all very saddened by this terrible accident. Our condolences go to the bereaved.”

Police have yet to identify the victim and further investigate the incident.

https://www.the-sun.com/news/5950656/highland-games-horror-as-22lb-hammer-kills-man/ Horror at the Highland Games as a 22lb hammer thrown by a competitor ‘flies over a hedge’ killing a 65-year-old man in castle grounds

DevanCole

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