A SECTION of Edinburgh’s Christmas market was closed off today after a man plummeted to his death from Edinburgh’s iconic Scott Monument.
Horrified ice-skaters saw a man fall from the top of the 200ft landmark as the neighbouring Princes Street Gardens was packed with day-trippers visiting the Christmas market.
Skaters on a nearby ice rink and staff at the attractions saw the man fall from the 200ft tall building at around 1:30pm, landing at the back of a staff hut on top of a ladder.
Shocked shoppers made frantic calls to the police and ambulance service. Stalls at the busy market remained open, but parts of the area – from the entrance to the gardens at Waverley Bridge to the monument – were closed off as police probed the incident, which is believed to be a suicide.
Police Scotland said the man, who has not yet been named, was pronounced dead at the scene. They added that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.
Witnesses saw police examining a note at the scene, as other people spoke of their shock at the death.
One shopper, who asked not to be named, said: “I can’t believe it. I’m totally shocked, what a poor man. I’m just speechless.
“What a horrible way to go.”
David Gibb, 20, said: “I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve never heard of anyone falling from there. I can’t believe it, actually. What a shame.”
A staff member at one of the nearby attractions said: “He fell down the back of the staff hut and crashed on top of a ladder.”
Police were still in attendance at the scene in the late afternoon, having cordoned off part of the Christmas market as they interviewed witnesses.
Officers were present not only at the scene and below the monument, but also on the Princes Street side of the attraction. The children’s carousel below the monument was turned off, while market staff on the closed side were confined to their booths.
However, the ice rink and main part of the market were still open. Visitors were diverted by police and security staff to the lower part of the gardens.
The body was removed by a private ambulance at 3:40pm.
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police in Edinburgh responded to Princes Street at around 1:35pm on Friday 29 November following reports that a man fell from the Scott Monument. He was pronounced dead at the scene. There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and a report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.”
Edinburgh City Council confirmed that a section of the market was shut off to allow emergency services access to the area.
“A section was closed from the gates at the entrance to the market at Waverley Bridge to an area just past the Scott Monument,” said a spokeswoman.
“This was to allow emergency services access because of the incident.”
She confirmed the man was pronounced dead at the scene, adding: “The section of market was open again at 3:45pm.”
Joint organisers of this year’s festivities, London-based Underbelly, said they did not wish to comment on the death, adding: “All comments about this will be issued by Police Scotland.”