Mississippi State University became the scene of a tragic accident when one of its students and two of his friends decided to climb atop an 18-foot Jumbotron at Wade Davis Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi.
Andrew Scott Demboski, 21, died Saturday morning at around 1:30 a.m. Demboski was a junior at Mississippi State. He and his friends climbed to the top of the structure and were attempting to walk across a metal awning when he fell. He sustained severe head injuries and went into cardiac arrest after his head hit a platform.
— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) May 7, 2016
According to the Clarion-Ledger, a rescue crew worked on him for an hour without success as a high-angle rescue team was working to retrieve his body.
The metal awning that the young men were walking on was not engineered for foot traffic. Oktibbeha County Coroner Michael Hunt made a statement about the accident.
“What he was walking on was not designed to be walked on. We’re lucky all three of them didn’t get hurt.”
Demboski was a native of Ocean Springs and was majoring in environmental economics and management at the school. Even more tragic was the fact that his death occurred on the same day of the school’s commencement exercises. Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter spoke on behalf of the school.
“Andrew was a very talented student. Our campus is saddened by this loss on the day of Spring Commencement, and we all mourn Andrew’s passing and are keeping his family in our prayers.”
According to Mississippi State Athletics, the site of the fall is one of Davis Wade’s most popular features. It apparently is a high-definition video board used in college football. This particular screen is located in the stadium’s south end zone and cost $6.1 million dollars. It measures 152-feet wide by 135-feet, six-inches tall, and its main HD screen spans 111-feet wide by 47-feet high.
— Rustler Two (@atkron145) May 8, 2016
Apparently this was not the first time that students had accessed the Jumbotron, and doing so has been a popular subject among MSU fans. One poster on a fan message board stated that getting to the top of the structure was “fairly easy.” The poster also described how to get to the top in exact detail, stating that all one had to go was go through a door that was usually unlocked and climb multiple sets of ladders. The top of the scoreboard is the highest point on campus.
University sources told WTVA that they have had problems with students accessing the structure on dares, just for excitement, or in order to get a full view of the school’s campus.
The Washington Post reports that the Mississippi State student’s body was transported to Pearl, Mississippi, for an autopsy and for toxicology testing. MSU will make additional comments about the situation after Monday, May 9. An investigation is ongoing.
Marissa Gonzalez, identified on Facebook as Demboski’s girlfriend, spoke of the deceased student with fondness.
“[He was] a very simplistic guy who made you laugh under any circumstance… I love him more than words can say. I’m praying for him and his family for peace. His family lost a brother, son, grandchild, and cousin.”
Fox News writes that the university honored the Mississippi State student’s memory with a moment of silence at the Saturday morning commencement ceremony which was held at Humphrey Coliseum. Demboski’s death occurred just hours before the ceremony and on the night of the baseball team’s win over Missouri.
WTVA reports that the Starkville Fire Department’s rescue team had to use rescue techniques to retrieve his body from the platform onto which he fell. Paramedics worked on him concurrently for the full hour during the rescue, and a helicopter was on standby to fly him to a local hospital. Unfortunately, none of the efforts were enough to save the young man.
MSU Police Chief Vance Rice is referring all questions in regards to the incident to university public relations.
[Image via Twitter]