In the small town of Ngaruawahia on the North Island of New Zealand, kids have enjoyed a dangerous and illegal pastime for generations, but two boys increased the danger level Sunday with a new stunt.
The unidentified boys climbed aboard a stopped train and minutes later leaped from flatbed train cars as they traveled across the Ngaruawahia bridge. The boys splashed into the Waikato River, as seen in these videos captured from different angles:
Simon Howe, who shot the second video, told Fairfax New Zealand he knew the first boy and admitted even he jumped from the bridge a few times before the third train arrived on the scene.
The train was forced to stop because more than 10 kids were on the bridge waiting to jump off, according to 1 News Now.
“[The driver] was just beeping the horn and refused to go any further [until] everyone jumped off the bridge,” Howe told Fairfax New Zealand.
Before the train started over the bridge, the two kids climbed aboard and jumped into the river from the moving train, though Howe only captured video of the first. In the first video above shot by Alan Bekhuis, the second jumper can be seen on another flatbed car, but the video only captures the boy just before splashing down into the river.
Many online were impressed with the “train jumper.”
“No one’s gone to that level before,” Howe told Fairfax New Zealand. “It sort of made him a bit famous.
“I do feel sorry for the train drivers. It’s pretty harsh for them, but in the same hand, it’s what they’ve been doing for many years in Ngaruawahia. It’s what they do, it’s what their uncles and their fathers do…It’s somewhat culture.”
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Twenty minutes after the incident, two police officers searched the bridge for would-be jumpers. One kid is seen in Howe’s video cleverly lying still on the top of a truss while the officers walked beneath him.
“You’ve got a group of kids who are going to be daredevils,” David Gordon, a general manager with KiwiRail, told Fairfax New Zealand. “They are not really considering what the implications are for them, and I think more for their families than anything, if one of them gets hurt.”
Or is killed.
“We’ve talked to the council about what you can do and we’ve talked to the police about it. It is just seemingly an intractable problem, which is not a great thing to say, but we’ve not been able to find ourselves a way through this.”