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veddah in fatal fall from tallest Buddha statue

A veddah who attempted to remove a ‘giant honey bee’ hive from a Buddha statue scheduled to be unveiled today by President Maithripala Sirisena had a fatal fall in the wee-hours of yesterday. The 135-foot tall statue is described as the tallest standing Buddha statue in South Asia.

The dead man has been identified as Dissanayake Mudiyanselage Kiribanda (52), a resident of Dambana.

The hive had been built behind the right arm of the statue and the Presidential Security Division officials who had inspected the area on Tuesday in view of President Sirisena’s visit scheduled for today instructed the organisers to remove it.

The organisers thinking that a veddah would be ideal for the task hired one from Dambana. Claiming that the best time to remove hives was before daybreak the veddah climbed the statue around 2.00 am yesterday.

He managed to remove the hive and while climbing down his leg slipped and fell.

He died on the spot.

His remains were to be taken to Nagoda Hospital in Kalutara for a post-mortem.

The standing Buddha statue has been constructed with financial sponsorship of businessman cum Western Provincial Council member Jagath Pinnagoda Withana.  

Meanwhile, contacted for comment Wimale Attho, the son of Chief of the Veddah clan Uruvarige Wannila Ettho said the victim was not a Veddah though he had been a resident in their village.