The boy who filmed a harrowing video of four Quebec teenagers climbing a 40-metre-high transmission tower says they likely did it “to be popular.”
Tommy Pasieka, 12, pulled out his cellphone and hit record as his schoolmates scaled the dangerous structure outside their high school in Sainte-Adele, Que. earlier this week.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh they’re going to die, they’re going to be electrocuted, like, they’re going to die for sure.’ I was really scared,” Pasieka told CTV Montreal.
The video, which was later posted on YouTube, has since caught the attention of the school board, which sent a letter home this week, asking parents to warn their children about the danger of such high-risk stunts.
The school has also said it plans to punish the climbers.
“I could not believe my eyes. I contacted the school and I sent an email with video and also to the SQ, the police officers,” said Tommy’s mother, Anne-Marie Pasieka.
Police cruisers were stationed outside Ecole Augustin-Norbert-Morin this week, and Hydro Quebec crews kept watch over the tower on Friday.
The danger in climbing the towers is twofold, according to a Hydro Quebec spokesperson.
“First of all, the height of the towers, they’re very high, and if you fall off you risk severe injury. Second of all, which is much more serious, you’re also very close to high power transmission lines and they’re exposing themselves to the risk of being electrocuted by an electric arc, which is the whole power from the line going through their bodies and down to the ground,” said Serge Abergel of Hyrdo Quebec.
The school’s principal declined to speak with CTV Montreal.
The motivation behind the risky act, Pasieka says, has everything to do with image.
“For the adrenaline rush and to get friends or just to be popular in the school, like, ‘Oh, look what I did, I climbed up a hydro pole, look how cool I am,’” he said.
Several other high-profile cases of teenagers climbing electricity poles have been reported this year, and one ended in tragedy.
A 21-year-old Quebec man, Pierre-Alexandre Dupuis, died in July after he was electrocuted while climbing a transmission tower in Riviere-du-Loup, Que. Another man was injured in that same incident, but survived.
A teenager in New Brunswick also made headlines in July, after he performed a similar stunt on a 60-metre-high transmission tower. Noah Kingston, 18, posted a video of him and another teenager walking across narrow beams atop the tower.
He later said he decided to quit “urban climbing” after realizing it is “highly illegal and highly dangerous.”