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John Paul Crucifix falls: 21-year-old crushed to death by giant crucifix

A John Paul crucifix fell and crushed a man to death during a ceremony Thursday in the province of Brescia, in northern Italy. The victim in the fatal accident was identified as 21-year-old Marco Gusmini, according to a report from Huffington Post UK today.

Gusmini had been posing for photographs with a group of friends when he heard a rustling from the structure, which soon collapsed on top of him, killing him instantly. As reported by the local media, the John Paul II crucifix was apparently brought down by strong winds. Though others were saved by running away in all directions, Gusmini, unfortunately, ran in the wrong direction.

The Jesus Christ statue on the cross is six meters high and weighs 600 kilograms and the crucifix was curved and fixed to the ground with cables, Raw Story reports. Another man is said to have been injured in the accident, but he is expected to make a full recovery.

The BBC reported that several onlookers, including a group of children, witnessed the horrific accident. Although the incident is indeed a tragic one, it is not the first of its kind. In 2004, the Associated Press reported that a 72-year-old woman had been crushed to death by a 7-ft-tall metal crucifix in the town of Sant'Onofrio in the southern part of Italy.

The cross was dedicated to John Paul II's visit to the area in 1998. Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005, will be declared a saint at the Vatican on Sunday. Initially installed in the Rigamonti stadium in 2005 and later transported to Cevo, the cross was designed by sculptor Enrico Job.