Girl, 8, spends minute hanging from raised boom, meters above the ground

Boom
Boom. Photo: Roel Wijnants / Wikimedia Commons

Eight year old Sofie spent an entire 60 seconds hanging from a raised boom, meters above the ground, in Spaarndam on Wednesday afternoon. Quite a terrifying experience for bystanders and the lock keeper. But the girl herself was unfazed. She came down with a big smile on her face, Marcel Kraan said, according to NOS.

Kraan is the father of one of Sofie's friends. He was in charge of entertaining his daughter and her friends, who are on May vacation, on Wednesday. "We went to get an ice cream yesterday and had to cross the lock at Spaarndammerdijk", he explained. The kids were fooling around with the boom. Kraan told them to stay off it three times, but Sofie did not listen. 

A boat sailed past the lock, the bridge deck went down, and the boom went up - with Sofie still on it. Marcel and a bystander rushed towards her. They told her to let go, so that they can catch her. But she wouldn't. In Sofie's own words, she couldn't let go because she has "sticky" hands.

The lock keeper, shocked by the girl hanging in the air, pressed the emergency button - leaving the boom upright. "The entire system goes on hold", spokesperson Hanneke Hofstee of Hoogheemraadschap Rijnland explained to the broadcaster. "The lock keeper has to reset everything. That takes a minute."

Sofie held on for that whole minute. "She is a strong and tough girl who likes exciting things", her mother Kate said, according to the broadcaster. "She also climbs often, so she has strong hands and arms."

The boom came down again, bringing Sofie down with it. "There she stood", Kraan said. "I was a bit snappy with her, and she began to cry. Then I gave her a hug." They went home after the incident - without ice cream. "The girls did not like that."

Sofie survived her adventure unharmed, but was a bit shaken, according to her mother. 

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