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Mississippi State Student Dies in Stadium Fall

Jason Scott Headshot

A 21-year-old student at Mississippi State University died Saturday when he fell through the roof of the video board at Davis Wade Stadium.

According to CBS News, Andrew Scott Demboski fell through the scoreboard’s roof early Saturday morning after he and two classmates climbed a locked fence. They reportedly entered the video board structure through a maintenance door that should have been locked, and climbed through to the roof through a service hatch. 

Emergency rescue workers struggled to extract Demboski from where he fell within the scoreboard, because it was too high for a fire truck ladder. Eventually, a hole was made in the structure, and Demboski was lowered to the ground in a basket. He died around 3 a.m., after emergency personnel failed to stabilize him.

Officials on Monday warned against trespassing at the football stadium.

“It’s the intent of the university, in the future, to prosecute any trespassing to the fullest extent of state law, and that students will be subject to the very harshest administrative sanctions,” university spokesman Sid Salter said in a news conference. 

Salter continued, saying that the university would examine security measures, including installing additional security cameras and locks, and look to secure tunnels, rooftops and other “architectural oddities.”

University police are investigating the incident and haven’t yet decided whether to formally discipline or charge the students who were with Demboski. Salter declined to say whether alcohol played any role in the incident.

“At this time our focus is on supporting the Demboski family and their loved ones and that includes these two friends who witnessed this tragedy,” Salter said.

According to CBS affiliate WCBI, students had heard rumors of it being possible to enter the stadium, but didn’t expect it could result in a serious accident.

“I don’t know anyone personally that’s done it, but I’ve heard from people who’ve heard from people that it’s happened before,” student John Green told WCBI. “I don’t know how they get in but I know it’s somewhat of a common thing that’s done.”

The university held a moment of silence during its commencement ceremony on Saturday, and offered counseling to students.

Meanwhile, the university community hopes the incident can provide a lesson to others.

“It’s just a really tragic accident,” said Green. “I hope people learn from it because it’s sad but it could have been prevented.”

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