A 21-year-old Ocean Springs man has died after he fell from the top of the Jumbotron video board at Davis Wade Stadium on the campus of Mississippi State University.
The accident occurred on the night before the university’s graduation and after the baseball team’s win over Missouri.
Andrew Scott Demboski, a student at MSU and 2013 graduate of Ocean Springs High School, went into cardiac arrest and apparently died from head injuries following the fall about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
WTVA reported he and two other male students apparently climbed atop of the huge video board, and he slipped and fell from a wide sheet-metal awning that spans the top of the device. The $6.1 million Jumbotron, which was completed in 2008, is 11 feet wide and 47 feet tall.
“It appears to be a tragic accident,” Oktibbeha County Coroner Michael Hunt said.
Demboski fell about 18 feet onto a platform, landing on his head, Hunt said. The Starkville Fire Department had to use rescue techniques to get him down from the platform. Emergency responders worked on Demboski for about an hour while he was being moved to ground level but could not save him, Hunt said. A helicopter was waiting outside the stadium to take him to a hospital.
An autopsy will be performed, Hunt said.
Hunter Sheffield of Ocean Springs said he had been friends with Demboski for several years and was shocked at the news.
“We went to school together and we were friends inside and outside of school,” Sheffield said. “But it had been a while since I had seen him — people tend to grow apart after graduation.”
He said he remembered Demboski as a regular teenager who enjoyed music and skateboarding.
“I was shocked when I heard that someone from Ocean Springs fell off the Jumbotron and I couldn’t believe that it was Andrew,” he said. “He did some crazy stuff when we were young, but we all did. I just can’t believe this happened to him.”
How Demboski got into the stadium remains a mystery. MSU Police Chief Vance Rice referred any comments to university public relations. WTVA reported MSU has had problems before with students accessing and climbing into the stadium as dares or for excitement and to get a view of the entire campus.
MSU Public Relations Director Sid Salter released the following statement:
“MSU can confirm the death of a student in an apparent accidental fall in the early morning hours today on the MSU campus near the M-Club building. The student is Andrew Scott Demboski, 21, of Ocean Springs. He was a junior Environmental Economics and Management major in the MSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Andrew was a very talented student. Our campus is saddened by this loss on the day of Spring Commencement and we all mourn Andrew’s passing and are keeping his family in our prayers.
An investigation into this incident is ongoing by MSU and county officials. MSU will have no additional comment on this matter until noon on Monday, May 9.”
The MSU Student Association released a statement saying it was “heartbroken” over Demboski’s death.
Counseling will be available through MSU’s Student Counseling Center.
The Sun Herald will update this story as information becomes available.