A tourist was killed during a freak accident on a Wisconsin draw bridge.
Richard Dujardin, 77, died after the Kilbourn Avenue Bridge in downtown Milwaukee was raised on Monday afternoon while he was walking across it.
Mr Dujardin, a religion writer, had been visiting Milwaukee from Providence, Rhode Island, with his wife Rosemarie Dujardin, who made it safely to the other side of the bridge,The Rhode Island Providence reported. The couple was on their way to afternoon mass when the incident took place.
Mr Duajrdin grabbed onto a side rail as the bridge rose but lost his grip and fell 71ft to his death, according to the Associated Press.
He suffered severe head trauma and died at the scene. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office report said that Mr Dujardin was looking at an iPad as the bridge was raised and did not notice when the lights went off and protective arms came down.
“He got a kick out of the little things in life. He loved to laugh. He loved a free meal at Denny’s. He loved traveling,” Mr Dujardin daughter, Julianne Grew (center), said (Julianne Grew/Facebook)
Ms Dujardin, who was married to Mr Dujardin for 54 years and shares six adult children with him, reportedly told authorities that her husband was hard of hearing and also had vision problems.
The bridge, which controls boat traffic on the Milwaukee River, is raised and lowered by a Department of Public Works remote operator who has access to a camera view of the bridge, the AP reported.
Mr Dujardin was fondly remembered by his family and described as a kind man of faith.
“He got a kick out of the little things in life. He loved to laugh. He loved a free meal at Denny’s. He loved traveling,” his daughter, Julianne Grew told local news station WTMJ-TV.
He was also an award-winning reporter, covering religion for more than four decades. He was visiting Milwaukee for a conference.
“One of his favorite moments was meeting [Pope] John Paul II in person and giving him cards my siblings had made for him, he was very proud of that,” Ms Grew recalled to WTMJ-TV.
Authorities said they don’t suspect a criminal act. The employee who was operating the bridge at the time of the tragedy has worked in that position for four years, the city said in a statement to WTMJ-TV.
They are currently on leave as the investigation continues.