GENEVA – A man in his 20s ended up in hospital after breaching the security perimeter around Geneva’s famous Jet d’Eau and trying to embrace the powerful fountain, media reported on Wednesday.
The man attempted the dangerous stunt on Monday evening, the 20 Minutes daily reported, quoting witnesses at the scene.
He first tried to press his face to the fountain nozzle, from which every second, 500 litres of water shoots out at a speed of 200kmh, reaching a height of 140m before cascading down into Lake Geneva.
Unsurprisingly, he found himself catapulted backwards.
But that reportedly did not dissuade him from a second try.
He approached the powerful torrent again, attempting to throw his arms around it, according to 20 Minutes.
This time, the water pressure threw him several metres into the air, before he crashed down onto the cement walkway near the fountain. He then dived into the lake.
Police arrived, having been alerted by witnesses, and fished the man out of the water.
“Police officers came and asked to urgently shut off the Jet d’Eau to be able to go get him,” one witness told 20 Minutes.
Police spokesman Aline Dard said the officers helped the man and “raised him out” of the water. He was later taken by ambulance to hospital.
His condition remained unclear.
Swiss electric company SIG, which owns and runs the fountain, announced that it would file a complaint against the man for trespassing.
Geneva has been home to the iconic fountain since 1891. The current version has towered over the centre of the city virtually every day since 1951.
It is usually lit up in varying colours in the evening, including shades of the rainbow when celebrating the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community, and red and white for the Swiss national day.
In 2020, it was shut off for several months to signal the need for people to observe Covid-19 restrictions. AFP