Man dies after falling five storeys from downtown Montreal building


MONTREAL — A 33-year-old man died after falling five storeys from a downtown Montreal building at the site of an Amnesty International fundraiser, the human rights group confirmed Saturday.

The event, which was to feature participants rappelling down the side of a building using ropes, was cancelled following the fall.

In a statement, the human rights group said the accident occurred before the fundraiser started and the victim worked for the company in charge of the event.

“We deplore a major accident that occurred this morning at the Maison du developpement durable,” read a joint statement from Amnesty International and the community organization housed in the building.

“A member of the team of Decalade, the company in charge of the activity, lost his life.”

In an emailed statement, said it would conduct its own internal investigation to see whether the accident was caused by a technical failure or human error.

It added that all its equipment was triple-checked before an activity.

“We’d like to offer our most sincere sympathies and condolences to the family and loved ones of our dear friend and colleague,” the statement added.

A spokesman for Montreal’s ambulance service said paramedics were called to the scene at around 10 a.m. but couldn’t revive the man.

Stephane Smith of Urgences Sante said two people were also taken to hospital to be treated for shock.

The event was to involve rappelling, which Amnesty described as “descending vertical surfaces” by walking down the wall or jumping, while facing downward and attached by a rope and harness.

“In the spirit of supporting human rights defenders who take risks every day, we’re challenging ourselves to fight our fears, but in total safety,” reads a page promoting the event on Amnesty’s website.

Montreal police responded to the scene but quickly concluded there was no criminal element, a spokesperson confirmed.

The investigation was then handed over to Quebec’s workplace health and safety board, who said a team was sent to the site late Saturday morning.

The Canadian Press