Public prosecutor

Investigation ongoing two years after toddler died at Christmas market

Remnants of the sculpture after it partially collapsed on 24 November Library photo: Luxembourg police

Remnants of the sculpture after it partially collapsed on 24 November Library photo: Luxembourg police

An investigation into the death of a young child at the 2019 Christmas market is still ongoing, the public prosecutor’s office confirmed to Delano as Luxembourg City is preparing to host the first Winterlights festival since the accident.

A 2-year-old boy died after being hit by a falling piece of an interactive ice sculpture on Place Guillaume II on 24 November 2019. The child succumbed to his injuries in the ambulance on the way to hospital.

“The investigation was virtually concluded,” a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office said. However, new pieces of information mean that the probe now continues, she said.

The Luxembourg City Tourist Office had ordered the sculpture, which was carved on site the day of the accident. The team setting up the display left around 7pm, around an hour before the boy was struck by a falling piece of ice. The sculptor behind the work at the time said that the display could not have toppled over on its own.

The display, set up near a skating rink, included a block of ice resembling a chalet wall as well as a sleigh and Santa. The sculpture weighed around 2.2 tonnes, with the piece that came loose estimated at around 700 kilogrammes.

“Obviously, there won’t be any ice sculptures this year,” Luxembourg City mayor Lydie Polfer said during a press conference on 11 November, where she presented the details of this year’s Winterlights festival. “We are doing everything possible to guarantee the safety of visitors,” she said.

“We didn’t order the ice sculptures; it was the LCTO. But they were on our Christmas market,” she added, calling the accident a “tremendous sadness”.

The public prosecutor’s office is treating the case as involuntary manslaughter.