• Germany's news in English
 
Wetten, dass? stopped after on-air accident
Photo: DPA

Wetten, dass? stopped after on-air accident

Published: 05 Dec 2010 10:14 GMT+01:00

The 23-year-old student Samuel Koch was trying to jump over a series of moving cars while wearing spring stilts, but something caught on the fourth vehicle and he fell and lay motionless on the floor.

Hosts Thomas Gottschalk and Michelle Hunziker called for a doctor and the cameras panned away from the stage where the man was lying. The television feed was soon switched to repeats of musical acts which had previously appeared on the show, which regularly attracts millions of viewers across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

After 25 minutes of musical repeats, Gottschalk announced that the show would not go on. Samuel Koch was being operated on in hospital and there was no detailed news on how he was.

“We will here and now break off the programme,” said Gottschalk. “Anything else would be wrong. We here at ZDF feel responsible to not make jolly when we are not.”

He said that Samuel Koch was conscious and could feel his legs, but that he was being operated on at the University Hospital in Dusseldorf.

Introducing the stunt, Gottschalk had told the audience that he had been very worried when watching rehearsals of Samuel Koch jumping over cars being driven towards him, according to Der Spiegel.

“I have never been so scared, that something would happen to this young man. I can only say, I hope all goes well,” he said.

The magazine speculated on Sunday that the stunts performed by members of the public on the show were becoming increasingly dangerous at least in part due to competition from Das Supertalent show which is scheduled at the same time on commercial station RTL.

Samuel Koch was jumping over successively bigger cars, and broke off the second jump, looking irritated and stressed, according to Der Spiegel. The third car he cleared, but the fourth, which was being driven by his father, was too much, he caught himself on it somehow and crashed to the floor.

It is the first time in 29 years that the show has been broken off. “It is the first time in my long, long career that such a thing has happened and we have carried out many dangerous stunts,” Gottschalk said later. “I have always said that would be the worst thing for me, if something happened to one of my candidates in a live show. I regret enormously that this has now happened.”

DAPD/The Local/AFP/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:44 December 5, 2010 by pepsionice
Two observations: first, over the past decade....I've noticed at least twenty stunts that I would not have allowed on national TV like this....via Wetten Dass. They've had this mentality of acceptance long before any competition like they mention.

Second....the audience who watches this show is typically over the age of 30. The younger audience typically doesn't watch the show. I would speculate that the management of the show convinced folks that these "stunts" were necessary to capture the younger audience.

This is the end of the wild stunt period, and we can now go back to dog tricks and old women identifying forty-four types of tea pots by just feeling the spout while blindfolded.
14:29 December 5, 2010 by Henrik1966
@Iain & Siobhan:

Of course "Wetten dass.. ?" has no time delay ... this is Europe not the USA ... if we watch something live we want the real deal and not something that has been or can be influenced på the tv station!!! Another "Nipple gate" is no threat for Europeans!!! And even swearing is not something that should be beeped out!!!
17:15 December 5, 2010 by DanielF
Yes but Henrik, Yorkshire is in England, not the USA.
17:25 December 5, 2010 by scallywagy
Which has us wondering even more, who should be more worried now- the host, the the victim attempting to please the audience, his family, the competing show or the audience who will now be forced to metaphorically complete their own stunts?

http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2010/12/stuntman-seriously-injured-live-on-german-tv-show-wetten-dass/
18:13 December 5, 2010 by Landmine
It's just stupid to do things like this in the first place.....
18:41 December 5, 2010 by auniquecorn
@ Henrik1966

If they had time-delay, My 6 year old daughter, along with thousands of other children would not of had to see this,

Time-delay serves a purpose.
19:07 December 5, 2010 by inmyopinion
It is irresponsible to allow stunts like this in a show. In the end it was up to Gottschalk to say no, and that he didn¦#39;t, just added another example to demonstrate ¦quot;cognitive distortion¦quot;. What¦#39;s next? Russian roulette?
21:18 December 5, 2010 by acb
@ auniquecorn: shouldn't a 6year old be in bed by 8pm?
21:48 December 5, 2010 by Al Davis
@ auniquecorn

I think that you are an irrisponsible parent to let your 6yr old stay up this late and watch a dangerous live stunt.

Or are you that 'kin stupid you do not understand the meaning of the word "LIVE"

@ inmyopinion

Whats wrong with Russion roulette (coward)
00:18 December 6, 2010 by bartschaff
Time delay in TV shows is for moralist hypocrites and cowards.

If the public wants to watch a guy performing some useless task that can end up in his death, fine, I do too, but watch it on then.

@ auniquecorn: learning that doing something stupid can get you hurt is a valuable lesson for a kid.

And, still on time dealy ""live"" shows: only a morally sick society considers some nudity or swering to be utterly inaceptable on tv. F**k! That's how people speak. @Tits@ for you.
01:00 December 6, 2010 by dcgi
The battle of the freak-shows is hotting up.
09:46 December 6, 2010 by moistvelvet
@auniquecorn "If they had time-delay, My 6 year old daughter, along with thousands of other children would not of had to see this"

Actually isn't it better to see this as an example of what not to do, obviously children of that age won't be jumping cars but a lesson in the dangers of falling on your head or neck leading to paralysis isn't such a bad thing.

@acb "shouldn't a 6year old be in bed by 8pm?"

shouldn't you mind your own business and leave parents decide for themselves what time their children go to bed.

No matter how bad this accident may have been, the guy did choose to do this stunt. Rather like Noel Edmonds in the UK when someone died whilst doing a stunt, could this be the end of Wetten das? or will the shocked and horrified audience forget all about Samuel Koch come New Year!
22:46 December 6, 2010 by Talonx
@ The Local

¦quot;We here at ZDF feel responsible to not make jolly when we are not.¦quot;

That sentence is not a translation.
Today's headlines
'Wrong but legal' claims child porn case ex-MP
Edathy preparing to face questions in Berlin Photo: DPA

'Wrong but legal' claims child porn case ex-MP

A former rising star of German politics who resigned after pictures of naked children were allegedly found on his official laptop said Thursday what he did was "wrong, but legal." READ  

This week in history
A Brandt name to relaunch a country
Willy Brandt being sworn into office in 1972 Photo: DPA

A Brandt name to relaunch a country

We know him as Willy Brandt - but that was just a pseudonym the former chancellor took to avoid the Nazis. READ  

10,000 evacuated after WWII bomb find
A similar bomb defused in Potsdam in September 2013. Photo: DPA

10,000 evacuated after WWII bomb find

Local authorities evacuated some 10,000 people from central Potsdam after an unexploded Second World War bomb was found on a building site. READ  

Sunny outlook for business this winter
Photo: DPA

Sunny outlook for business this winter

German business confidence rose in December on the back of falling oil prices and a weak euro, the Ifo economic institute said Thursday, as the prospects for Europe's biggest economy grew sunnier. READ  

Merkel says Russia sanctions 'unavoidable'
Photo: DPA

Merkel says Russia sanctions 'unavoidable'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Thursday that sanctions against Russia remain "unavoidable" until Ukraine regains its sovereignty and independence. READ  

Reus fined €540k for no driving licence
Photo: DPA

Reus fined €540k for no driving licence

Germany and Dortmund football star Marco Reus was hit by a €540,000 fine Thursday, after state prosecutors in Dortmund confirmed he has been driving for years without a licence. READ  

British and German troops relive Xmas truce
Soldiers in World War One period uniforms watch the football match. Photo: DPA

British and German troops relive Xmas truce

Teams from the British and German armies played a friendly football game in Aldershot on Wednesday in memory of the Christmas truce of 1914. READ  

Germany hails Obama's 'courage' over Cuba
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro. Photo: DPA

Germany hails Obama's 'courage' over Cuba

Berlin has welcomed the thaw in US-Cuban relations partly brokered in secret by Pope Francis at the Vatican. READ  

American guilty of killing Hamburg student
Diren Dede's grieving parents outside the court in Missoula Photo: DPA

American guilty of killing Hamburg student

A US court has found a man who shot and killed 17-year old German exchange student Diren Dede guilty of deliberate homicide. READ  

Cabinet agrees road toll for foreigners from 2016
Photo: DPA

Cabinet agrees road toll for foreigners from 2016

After months of bickering among the coalition parties, the cabinet finally agreed to put a road toll for foreigners before parliament, but open questions about its financial viability and legality remain. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,173
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd