Man Killed By Hammer In Freak Accident At Highland Games

A man has been killed at a Highland Games event in the Netherlands in a freak accident as a throwing hammer struck him in the head after being thrown over a hedge, on Sunday.

The hammer throw is one of the most famous events at the Highland Games
The hammer throw is one of the most famous events at the Highland Games

The incident took place at the Open Highland Games at Geldrop Castle. The victim was reportedly not a spectator but was simply walking in the castle gardens when the 22lbs metal ball was accidentally thrown over the hedge during a competition, hitting him in the head and killing the 65-year-old man instantly.

Emergency services, including a trauma helicopter, scrambled to assist but tragically the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

A witness told local media outlet Omroep Brabant: "The pendulum dropped, we saw the ball go over the hedge, and then we heard a woman screaming very loudly. "It wasn't a spectator, so he didn't see the ball coming at all."

The hammer throw is one of the main attractions in the ancient Scottish games where participants swing the metal ball around their heads before throwing it as far as they can. The hammer is a wooden pole with a heavy metal ball on the end - for the men's event, the ball usually weighs 22lbs.

The event was quickly suspended after the incident in which spectators watched the horrific scenes unfolding. According to reports the competitor who threw the fatal hammer was "a top player who had already participated in big competitions before."

Adri Geerts, the chairman of Foundation Village Marketing Geldrop-Mierlo, who organised the event, said: "We are flabbergasted that something like this can happen. "You don't expect it, it's the biggest disaster that can happen to all of us. We're devastated. I felt super excited about the event and all the people who were there.

"Someone then dies due to an accident, that makes me super sad."

Mr Geerts added that the participants were devastated and receiving help from victim support.

When discussing the athlete who threw the hammer that killed the victim, he said: "I haven't spoken to him myself, but he's completely beside himself, this should never have happened to him.

"They are players who practice this game internationally at a high level and with a lot of experience, but then apparently an accident can happen."

The police have not yet released the identity of the victim but have said they are investigating how such a tragic incident could happen during a major games event.

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