Tourist falls to his death from bridge as wife watches: 'He panicked'

·News Reporter
·2-min read

An elderly tourist has fallen to his death after the drawbridge he was walking on suddenly opened.

Richard Dujardin, 77, was about halfway across the bridge in Wisconsin on Monday when it began to rise.

His wife Rosemarie was already on the other side and he rushed to catch up with her but “was not fast enough.”

As the bridge rose to a 90 degree angle, the tourist held on for dear life, according to NBC News.

The Dujardin's were due to head home the same day the tragic accident occurred. Source: New York Post
The Dujardin's were due to head home the same day the tragic accident occurred. Source: New York Post

“He grabbed onto the side rail but ultimately lost his grip and fell onto the pavement below,” a medical examiner’s report said.

After managing to hold on for one or two minutes, Mr Dujardin plummeted about 22 metres causing him to suffer severe head trauma.

Police performed CPR but he died at the scene.

Heartbreaking details

It has been revealed that Mr Dujardin had been looking at an iPad as the drawbridge began to rise.

While his wife told authorities that he was typically a slow walker and used a hearing aid.

“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," according to the medical report.

A drawbridge
Mr Dujardin had been looking at an iPad as the drawbridge began to rise. Source: NBC News

“When it started to rise he panicked and grabbed onto the side rail.”

Tragically, Mr and Mrs Dujardin, had been planning to fly home to Rhode Island later that day.

Police launch an investigation

While the bridge, and about six others nearby, are operated remotely, the operator has to check two live camera views before the bridge can be opened.

However, the report noted that Mr Dujardin was dressed in dark clothing and the railing of the bridge is dark green.

Police cars and officers on the road
It's believed that Mr Dujardin didn't notice the lights and sirens as the bridge began to rise. Source: AP

Police said there is no suspicion of a crime but the incident will be investigated, and the bridge operator has been placed on leave.

“We [Department of Public Works] send out our deepest sympathy to the family and friends who lost their loved one from a tragic event on Monday,” interim Public Works Commissioner Jerrel Kruschke said in a statement to NBC News.

He added that the bridge operator was fully trained and in his fourth year as a bridge operator, “having conducted hundreds of bridge openings.”

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