Village in shock

15-year-old killed while putting up maypole

Im Vordergrund ist die verschlossene Grube zu sehen, in der der Jugendliche arbeitete.

In the foreground is the pit where the teenager was working when hit by the tree.

GRAFSCHAFT-NIERENDORF. A 15-year-old teenager was killed while setting up a maypole for May Day in Nierendorf. The entire village is in a state of shock while authorities try to find out more about how the accident occurred.

On late Sunday afternoon, several young teens from the village of Nierendorf were in front of the local fire station preparing to put up the traditional maypole.  It involved raising the tree trunk, with the lower part mounted in a concrete pit.  In the pit was a 15-year-old teenage boy who was busy at work when the tree trunk slipped and hit him, inflicting severe injuries. He was taken to the Bonn University Clinic with a rescue helicopter, where he later died from his injuries. The investigation into the accident is still ongoing. 

On Monday morning, the public square where the accident happened was completely empty.  The big maypole was still in the pit and candles were placed there to bear witness to the tragic event which has affected the entire village.  A wreath now lies on the covered pit.  It was actually the wreath that should have been used to decorate the maypole.   

Eyewitnesses said that the trunk was to be raised with a tractor on Sunday afternoon. The lower part of the tree was already set into the pit. The police are trying to determine why the teenager was in the pit at the time. Apparently, the tree slipped into the mount, severely injuring the young man. An emergency doctor provided first aid, then the victim was flown with a rescue helicopter to the Bonn University Clinic, where he died shortly thereafter.

The whole town was deeply affected by the tragedy and police are now trying to determine how the accident happened.  The annual custom has always been carried off without a hitch in past years.  

Orig. text: Victor Francke. Translation: ck