An Italian theatre actor has been declared brain dead days after a mishap during a live hanging scene resulted in his strangulation.
Raphael Schumacher, 27, was appearing in Mirages at the Teatro Lux this week in Pisa at the time of the incident, according to The Independent. Citing local news outlets, the paper reports the actor changed the ending of a scene that involved a death by gunshot with a hanging.
Schumacher, who was wearing a bag over his head, was rushed to hospital after an audience member realized that the rope tightened around his neck.
The actor reportedly changed the scene from a gun-shooting to a hanging without informing others working on the production beforehand.
“The noose should have been fake and a harness should have caught him if he fell. I cannot explain how an incident like this happened,” another actor told Independent.
After speculation the actor may have attempted suicide, investigators have concluded the incident was likely an accident.
“My son recently lost his father and had ended a relationship but had found his serenity again,” his mother said. “He didn’t leave a suicide note and had no reason to kill himself.”
Police are reportedly looking into whether the venue might be guilty of negligence in the incident.
Schumacher was supposed to stand on a box that had been moved during the act.
BBC reports he was declared clinically brain dead following a six-hour procedure on Thursday. The hospital issued a statement: “The family and the prosecutor’s office have both authorized that his organs be donated, but their removal will be subject to a medical assessment to be performed in the course of the night.”
Gabriele De Luca, the art director at the theatre, told the Daily Mail Schumacher’s hanging accident has left his colleagues in shock.
“No one, not even us, understands how this happened and it will be up to the police to shed light on it,” De Luca said.