Two teenage car enthusiasts plunged 18 metres (59 feet) to their deaths after practising dangerous drifting stunts on the top floor of an abandoned multi-storey car park in Germany.
The tragedy involving the pair in a Volkswagen car happened in Essen, in North-Rhine Westphalia which is in western Germany on Easter Sunday.
Ambulances and firefighters rushed to the building in Stolbergstrasse in the city’s Borbeck district after local residents heard the VW Golf crashing to the ground at 7.22pm.
The young men – who have been identified by Bild newspaper as Reda E., 19, from Morocco and his 16-year-old pal Zain E. from Lebanon, were unconscious and not responsive.
A firefighter said that Reda had lived nearby while Zain had been based in Herne, a city just 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Essen.
A spokesman for the local police said: “We have not yet determined who of the two individuals was behind the wheel when the incident occurred. This question is part of the ongoing investigations.”
The car was seriously damaged as it ended up on the driver’s side close to a tree near a pavement after having crashed through the barrier. Investigators have seized the wrecked dark-green vehicle.
Michael Doerr, a spokesman for the local fire brigade, said that 25 firefighters and 20 medical staff, including four emergency physicians, were sent to the scene. Doerr added that first-aid measures and resuscitation attempts were carried out straight away and on the way to a clinic but the young men were declared dead on arrival.
Essen police said it was possible that risky driving manoeuvres had been carried out before the vehicle broke a safety barrier and plunged to the ground.
According to local residents, the abandoned car park has been a popular meeting point and partying hotspot for automotive enthusiasts of the neighbourhood. Pestered by the sound of screeching tyres, residents have reportedly called the police numerous times in the past few years.
According to Bild, the duo lost control of the VW as they tried out to drift spectacularly across the empty tarmac. A spokesman for Essen police told the newspaper: “It appears as if hazardous swerves caused this horrific accident.”
The daily newspaper reports that residents heard roaring engines and screeching tyres already in the afternoon of Easter Sunday. Simone Hoelzgen, 67, who lives right next to the out-of-service car park told Bild: “At first we thought that some young guys were racing in the streets with their tuned cars. Then we realised that the noise was coming from the car park. At the end there was this horrible bang.”
Another resident, 18, told news website Der Westen that he had known both young men for many years: “I joked around with my mum when we heard the screeching noises, telling her that the cops would soon be here as residents would surely complain about the commotion, especially at Easter.”
He added: “It’s so sad. The parents of one of the guys who died are currently on holiday. They wanted to take some days off to relax. Now they learn from the death of their kid while on vacation.”