MINISTER for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht , Jimmy Deenihan, has called for an enquiry into the death of a street performer who died tragically at the Spraoi arts festival this afternoon in Waterford city.
Nikolai Mackrevich, originally from Russia, suffocated inside a glass box which he was secretly using for his theatrical street performance.
Mackrevich, 47, is thought to have just ‘ran out of oxygen’ while entertaining a large crowd of revellers on John Roberts square, said amateur photographer Mike Heinz.
Heinz, unknowingly, caught the street performers last gasp on camera seconds before the father of 4 collapsed in a heap inside the air-tight glass container.
“Everyone just thought it was all part of the act. Spectators were clapping and cheering because it looked so god damn real! His eye’s were all red and they didn’t even close when he collapsed.
He had the saddest mime face I have ever seen.
How were we supposed to know that he was actually inside a glass box?. It was invisible for Christ sake. I just took pictures!….that’s all I did. I JUST TOOK PICTURES!!” said a very distraught Mike Heinz.
According to eye witness reports, Mr. Mackrevich was miming for five to ten minutes before making choking gestures with his hands and pointing to what seemed to be an imaginary lid.
Little did anyone know that the lid he was pointing to was very real and the gestures he was making, were for help.
One man said “Children cheered as his oxygen starved eyeballs started to haemorrhage and turn a bright colour pink. When I think back now it gives me the willies.”
It took by-standers several minutes to realise that the man was actually unconscious. An ambulance was called and an emergency crew rushed to the mans aid. He was quickly taken to Waterford regional hospital, were he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Fellow mime artist Paul Fitzsimon said that Mackrevich was known all over the world for being a ‘mime cheat’, using various props to aid his performances.
“He made the front page of the Russian news papers 10 years ago when it was found that he used clear sheets of perspex in his ‘trapped behind the wall’ act.
Hopefully a proper enquiry will be carried out and further steps will be taken to put an end to rogue street performers .” he said.
Mr. Mackrevich’s remains will be flown to Moscow later this week.