A spectator reportedly died after he was hit by a 22-pound metal ball thrown by an athlete competing at the Open Highland Games in the southeastern Netherlands on Sunday, Aug. 7. 

The victim, an unnamed 65-year-old local who was touring the Geldrop Castle gardens in the southeastern Netherlands when the day took a tragic turn, was struck by a 22-pound metal ball that was thrown by a competitor at the Open Highland Games being staged at Geldrop Castle. The ball, after being hurled by the athlete, went over a wall and struck the elderly spectator, killing him instantly, New York Post reported. 

Even though emergency services immediately rushed to the scene while event organizers attempted CPR on the victim, their efforts proved to no avail. 

“The pendulum dropped, we saw the ball go over the hedge, and then we heard a woman screaming very loudly,” said one witness who saw the accident.

“It wasn’t a spectator … so he didn’t see the ball coming at all,” the witness added.

Highland Games are sporting tournaments that originated in Scotland where competitors take part in several different events. The throwing event which resulted in the man's death is a traditional part of the Highland games in which a competitor swings a “hammer” around their head and lets it go to see how far it reaches. Following the victim's death, the sporting event was canceled, CBS News reported.

“We are flabbergasted that something like this can happen,” said the organizer Adri Geerts, chairman of the Foundation Village Marketing Geldrop-Mierlo. “You don’t expect it, it’s the biggest disaster that can happen to all of us. We’re devastated.”

The athlete who threw the ball was reported to be one of the top competitors in the sport.

“The boy who swung the ball was completely upset,” an enthusiast of the event said.

“He was not a rookie, but really a top player, who had already participated in big competitions before,” another person shared.

Geerts revealed that all the competitors were distraught over the man's death.

“They are players who practice this game internationally at a high level and with a lot of experience and are extremely experienced, but then apparently an accident can happen,” he added.

Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Hans van de Laar released a statement offering his condolences to the victim's family.

“We are all very affected by this terrible accident. Our condolences go out to the bereaved families,” Laar said.

reflection-ge2e570499_1920 A spectator reportedly died after he was hit by a 22-pound metal ball thrown by an athlete competing at the Open Highland Games in the southeastern Netherlands on Sunday, Aug. 7. This is a representational image. Pixabay/ 849356