A graphic video shows Bolivian college students falling from a balcony that gave away, sending at least seven students to their deaths on the floor below.
According to Fox News, the students tumbled four floors to the ground after the metal railing broke. The tragedy occurred in a university building. You can watch the video below, but be aware that it’s very disturbing because it shows the railing give away and then students lying on the floor down below.
In one dramatic and horrifying moment, a student dangled over the edge, almost falling, but was pulled back to safety by another student.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Students Were Gathered to Attend an Assembly, Reports Say
According to Reuters, the students died at Public University of El Alto (UPEA) near La Paz, Bolivia. The wire service reported that the students had gathered for an assembly in the financial services building of the university.
Health Minister Jayson Auza said that “seven have died and five are in a critical state, some of them stabilized,” according to Fox News.
Fox reported that authorities have opened an investigation into the deaths of the students who are ages 19 to 27.
Eju!, a Spanish-language site, reported that the general commander of the Police, Jhonny Aguilera Montecinos, reported that those in charge of the area will be asked to give statement “to help establish the causes that led to the massive concentration of university students.” Surveillance videos are being obtained, he said.
The site also reported that there was a “dispute” that morning “between two fronts that had attended an information meeting at an internal student center,” but didn’t clarify what it was about. University officials told authorities they did not authorize the meeting; the university is paying for funeral and hospital costs for the victims, according to Eju!. The reason that the meeting was called was not revealed.
More Students Were Injured
Tragically, more students were injured as well. According to Al-Jazeera, another five students were injured in the tragedy in addition to those who died.
The news site reported that the students were trying to enter the hall for the assembly when the railing broke. The floor below was concrete, and some students tried to grab other students to stop them from plummeting off the edge, Al-Jazeera reported.
A police commander told Eju! that “11 people fell from a height of 16.7 meters. Of this number, seven lost their lives.” The site reported that university officials are cooperating with police in the investigation into the tragic deaths.
The names of the victims have not yet been released by authorities and their bios are thus not yet known; the cause of the railing’s failure hasn’t been released either, although the video shows quite a crush of people pushing against the railing before it suddenly broke, sending the students over the side.
A police commander said the cause of death was due to “multiple trauma,” according to The New York Post.